Why Reading Matters: The Benefits of Reading for Children and Teens

We always hear about the importance of reading, but why does it really matter? Read on to discover the many benefits of reading for children and teens!

Reading is critical for language development

According to top researchers in the field of child development, young children require exposure to a variety of language patterns in order to develop effective linguistic skills. This includes both verbal communication, listening, and reading. In the words of Dr. Laura Phillips of the Child Mind Institute, “reading and exposure to words helps kids maximize their language and cognitive capacity.”

When parents read to their children from a young age, they are providing them invaluable exposure to how ideas can be expressed, how emotions are tied to language, and how words can provide meaning.

Reading expands our vocabulary

It may not be something we actively think about, but reading itself is like stepping into another person’s world – including their vocabulary, customs, manner of speaking, and more. On this same note, we tend to become accustomed to our own speaking patterns among friends and family. While this is a wonderful thing, it’s also incredible how reading itself can expand our own ways of communicating.

The data is quite incredible – research indicates that young children whose parents read them five books a day have heard 1.4 million more words than kids who are not being read to. In addition, kids who are read just one book each day will still hear around 290,000 more words by age 5 than students who don’t regularly read with a parent, guardian, or tutor. 

We really cannot stress this enough – encouraging regular reading is one of the best ways to expand the vocabulary of young minds!

Reading encourages empathy for others

Reading about other people’s thoughts and experiences encourages “putting yourself in their shoes” – which, if you think about it, is the root of empathy. In fact, recent studies indicate that even reading fiction improves empathy in students.

The true power of reading is the ability to peer into a window of someone else’s world, even if it’s only for a short period of time. A somber example of this fact is the Diary of Anne Frank – and why it is so widely used in schools to teach students about the Holocaust. 

Frank’s diary is written in a way that speaks to students with its relatability about the struggles of young adulthood and growing up – and ultimately, the empathy the reader develops for her conveys the horrors of the Holocaust in a way an encyclopedia article simply cannot. For these reasons, educators around the world continue to rely on Anne Frank’s Diary of a Young Girl as a vehicle for creating empathetic connections to literature. 

The important takeaway is this: reading not only helps expand our minds, but also our hearts.

Reading improves grades

There is a direct connection between the amount of time students spend reading and their overall academic achievement. Put simply: students who read more have higher grades.

A recent study examined high school teens aged 15-17 and whether or not reading as a pastime had an effect on grades. According to the authors, the students who routinely read for pleasure “averaged higher scores than their non-reading counterparts” in every subject measured – English, science, math, and even history!

At the end of the day, reading is simply one of the best ways to expand our general knowledge of – well, pretty much everything! Let’s put it this way – there’s a reason why scholarly individuals used to be referred to as well-read.

Looking for book recommendations? Tutor Doctor’s got you covered!