The Power of Reading

The love of reading is gift

A constant thread running through posts on my blog is the importance of reading to and with young children every day. I have often said that passing on a love of reading is one of the greatest gifts a parent can give a child. The ability to read for information and for enjoyment is empowering. It allows one to take charge of one’s learning and one’s recreational pursuits.

While my focus is specifically on early childhood, I am interested in education at all levels. I was pleased therefore to recently see a post about the importance of reading for older students. In his post The Power of Reading, Trevor Pilgrim discusses the “correlation between extensive critical reading and higher academic achievement” through the acquisition of knowledge and understanding of abstract concepts. He makes a link between reading of fiction and the development of emotional intelligence. He goes on to list the important role of reading in the academic lives of students.
If you ever questioned why it is important for children to read, here are some of the answers:

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He that loves reading has everything within his reach.”  – William Godwin.

If anyone were to ask me what is the most effective learning tool available to students, my answer would be frequent reading.  I can speak of this from personal and professional experience.  Students can read traditional books or they can read online.  In fact, online reading is growing by leaps and bounds these days.

Educational experts agree that there is a strong correlation between extensive critical reading and higher academic achievement.  Eclectic and targeted reading both lead to significant acquisition of knowledge.  Habitual readers develop their reading comprehension skills and derive greater meaning from the text.  They get better at doing this with practice and at the same time they develop their higher order thinking and learning skills along with their understanding of abstract concepts.  All of this helps to create a much better student in…

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23 thoughts on “The Power of Reading

  1. Pingback: Reading is good for you | book word

  2. Charli Mills

    I’ve seen how a dislike of reading can get passed down through generations, too. I was lucky to have some outside influence to develop a love of reading young. It’s hard to explain to someone who doesn’t like to read what a joy it is!

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    1. Norah Post author

      Both those points are true too. I struggled to avoid passing on my aversions and anxieties to my children. I’m not sure how successful I was, but they have both turned out pretty well anyway, I think. I guess there are those of us who like to read, and those who don’t. The ability to read and understand when it is required is a right of everyone, though, and empowering.

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  3. Sherri

    Thank you for sharing this post Norah, so very important and just goes to prove everything I’ve always believed about the many benefits of reading to our children and encouraging them to read themselves. My eldest son became an avid reader very young and yes, without wishing to seem to brag, he excelled at school. Did I ever tell you the story of the only time he got into trouble at school was for reading too much in class when he should have been listening to the teacher! Haha…imagine that, getting told off for reading! Still, he should have been paying attention 🙂 Something interesting I read recently I thought I would send your way: apparantly when we read to babies and infants right before bed, they retain what they’ve had read to them much better when sleeping afterwards than when read to during the day. It seems that reading before bedtime isn’t just the most wonderful cuddly lovely gorgeous time ever spent with our children: it has intellectual benefits too 🙂
    (PS I’m so sorry Norah I didn’t get over to you before now. I knew this week would be chokka, but I so want to catch up with your posts before I sign off for real by the end of the weekend. I’ll be over tomorrow for sure to do just that. Meanwhile, have a great evening – oops, I mean day…I think?…and see you then! )

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    1. Norah Post author

      That’s funny. Only being told off in school once – and for reading! The teacher must have thought his (her?) knowledge was more important!
      What you have shared about reading at bedtime is interesting. It’s not what I expected from your opening statement. I thought you might say it kept them awake or gave them nightmares, or something equally “bad”, so I was pleased it was a positive aspect after all. Sometimes if I read something thought-provoking, challenging or horrific before sleep it keeps me awake, wakes me up, or gives me nightmares; none of which is pleasant.I’m pleased it wasn’t shown to be so for children.
      Thanks for popping over and commenting. I know you’ve got other things on your mind at the moment. Best wishes for success with them. 🙂

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      1. Sherri

        Haha…I know, can you believe it?!! My son remembers it to this day!!
        Reading a scary story to a child would certainly be a whole different experience for sure!!
        Thanks again Norah, and now to your other posts… 🙂

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  4. julespaige

    Reading is important to all ages. My MIL had a daily news paper until a month before she passed. I was late to reading, but have enjoyed a variety of books. The net and other bloggers have become an education and for that and the many new friends I have made I am grateful.

    I may not read as many books as I used to, but I am reading other’s writings, and encourage reading to my grandchildren. Even Little Miss who just turned 2 sits and ‘reads’ to me. Son of Son at 5 learned some important sight words in pre-school last year and is continuing to add new words everyday. 🙂

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    1. Norah Post author

      Great to hear of such a reading family – four generations of readers. My reading has changed too. The time I may have spent reading novels or nonfiction I now spend reading (and writing) blogs. It’s a different type of reading and one I really enjoy – I think, as you say, the friendships formed contribute much to that. Thank you for yours.

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  5. Sacha Black

    Well DUH! lol.

    I love this. As you know reading is a seriously important activity in my household. I adore the fact, no… scratch that, I am so ridiculously proud of the fact, that my son already chooses to pick up books and bring them to me to read. It makes my heart swell with pride. What I find interesting is that concept of emotional intelligence being developed through reading.

    I feel like I have had that conversation recently… Was it with you? If not, then I 100% agree with you. Books give you the space to ‘feel’ and to understand empathy for characters or indeed hatred, in a safe place. The younger you read and have parents to help you reflect, the better your emotional intelligence, or at least that’s how I figure it.

    I honestly don’t believe there is a better academic tool than reading. #SMAG this post.

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    1. Norah Post author

      Oh Sacha, your comment gives me joy! How fortunate is your young son to already have a love of books and reading. The world is opening up to him. I’m not sure if we have discussed emotional intelligence and fiction, but it sure works fine for me.
      Thank you for your enthusiasm and #SMAGging this post! 🙂

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  6. macjam47

    Noarah, this is a very thoughtful post. I have forwarded the link to my daughter-in-law who has ateenage son that has been an avid reader all his life and a preteen son who is also a reader.

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