Dave, Lu and I were walking through the airport yesterday and passed by a family with three kids sitting in a row. The kids probably ranged from elementary school to high school, and do you know what they were doing? They were READING. Reading real, live books with pages. I honestly just don’t see that much any more. I had to turn around and interrupt to tell them how awesome they are. The mom smiled and told me she had done a little cajoling to make that magic happen. I wish I had stopped to praise her more. Did she know that in that cajoling (which I know from experience is sometimes a big, fat pain), she was giving one of the greatest gifts we can give our children?
Three Incredible Benefits of Reading
Oh those kids sitting in that airport terminal reading those books are gaining so much more than a good story! There are countless proven benefits to reading books.
Reading helps improve intelligence
This is really a no-brainer, right? Reading a book does so many things in brain development!
- It helps kids deepen vocabulary.
- Reading helps improve cognitive abilities. A good reader can understand concepts taught in school so much more readily.
- Of course, reading boosts preparedness for things like the ACT and SAT exams.
Reading improves emotional intelligence and empathy
Even more beautiful to me than all that “smartness” up there: reading also takes kids (and adults) to different worlds. In doing so, it helps them understand where others are coming from. Reading has been proven over and over again to improve emotional intelligence and empathy.
Let’s think about it. When you’re reading something like Because of Winn Dixie or Ida B or Wonder, (some of my FAVORITE books for youth), how can they help but gain a sense of empathy for those who are going through tough things. They can learn from delving into the lives of others that they’re not alone in the heavy things they are carrying around. They learn to se the world from other vantage points, and we can all use a little more of that in our lives, am I right?
Perhaps my favorite reason to push kids to read:
Reading helps kids stay away from technology
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: technology is doing much to ruin kids lives these days. If they are pushed to read more, they don’t have as much time for mindless scrolling. Instead of being sucked into a world of social media where they may feel like they’re “not enough,” they are sucked into worlds filled with imagination and adventure.
Imagine a child who turns to screens when they are bored, and one who is trained to pull out a book and read when things are going slow. Whoa! The trajectory of that kid changes dramatically! And his/her brain will begin to develop in a whole new way.
Of course, technology isn’t all bad. There are is so much good that can come from those screens of ours! If you are reading this right now, I hope and pray you are finding goodness through your screen reading this post right at this moment. But I think we can all agree, there is something in technology that sucks us in that is difficult to control.
I’m a big believer that if you take something away, you need to add something in. Let’s fill in any holes out there with the glory of books!
Hope for moms who’s kids don’t appreciate books…yet
As an addendum, I have to say that as a kid I hated to read. Even through the end of high school, reading was the worst. But now I love it with all my heart. My point is, be patient as kids learn to work reading into their lives. It will come with time. Especially when you offer some magnificent books to entice them!
Here are some of my favorites: