We all know that “reading is fundamental”, as the old ad campaign used to say, and of course we appreciate how important reading is for our kids. But there are actually a lot of additional benefits – beyond its importance in early education and the lifelong acquisition of information – that we thought were pretty cool and you might think so too.
At KiwiCo, books play a huge part of what we do. We love books because they inspire, educate, and enhance creativity and learning! Whether you are a new parent reading to your child or the parent of a toddler who is learning to read, or supporting a teenager who is learning new STEM skills, spending time with the printed page offers many long lasting benefits. Here are just a few:
- Reading helps develop language and build good communication skills: Being read to and reading aloud helps language development, vocabulary and understanding, and for that reason, pediatricians recommend reading to your child even from a very young age.. Throughout their lives, kids (and grown-ups!) continue to acquire new vocabulary and turns of phrase from books (thank you, Big Nate??)
- Reading builds cultural literacy: Everything we do from deciphering signs, menus and maps, to finding information online, requires reading. Reading gives kids tools to navigate the world – both physically, but also culturally — they gain the context to understand and appreciate the perspectives of the cultures they may visit. (PSA: consider a Deluxe subscription to our Atlas Crate line – and get a book handpicked to learn more about each month’s destination!)
- Reading can alleviate stress: Especially now at this time of uncertainty and anxiety, reading provides both a window to alternate worlds and an escape to other places. Reading can transport kids to a state of calm – whether that exists under the sea, a fantasy kingdom, the African Savannah or the Gold Rush days. Now is a great time to help your child build a cozy reading nook (in a closet, a corner, under the stairs!) to retreat to when they need to find that quiet haven.
- Reading (and even just being read to) stimulates the brain: When kids read or are read to, it stimulates the frontal cortex (the language processing part of their brain). For babies, while they may not understand the actual words that you’re saying yet, being exposed to words gets your child used to hearing them.
- Reading helps develop empathy: Books help kids get out of themselves to understand different perspectives. Stories help them negotiate the world and process their feelings.
- Reading books on science helps develop common core skills: In addition to learning about STEM topics, kids learn how to process technical information.
What if I have a reluctant reader?
- If you have a reluctant reader, consider starting with graphic novels. Similar in format to comic books, graphic novels offer visual narratives that kids find seriously fun. And according to all our advisors who are teachers – yes, reading graphic novels still “counts”!
- For elementary age kids, nonfiction books are often a big draw. These titles arm them with fascinating facts about animals and the natural world that your child, too, may love throwing out in carpool lines or at the dinner table (“Did you know that gorillas build the world’s largest nests?”)Biographies inspire kids to learn about historical figures and events.
- Find books that allow them to go deeper into their passion or areas of interest.