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Is Reading Really That Important?
Posted On:
Monday, March 25, 2019
Exercise your brain with reading
Exercise your brain with reading
Why is reading so important?

Why is reading so important? By Darlah Zweifel, MCHS Teacher Librarian

    Being a good reader is the basic foundation for anyone’s success in life. Why is reading so important? Well, think about everything you do on a daily basis...pay bills, fill out job applications, go to the grocery, pay taxes, fill out paperwork for doctors offices and insurance, catch up on social media, maybe even write a report for work. All of these things require reading. Some careers require more writing than others, but all jobs will have you writing or filling out a form of some sort in the process of being hired. So, being able to read and understand what you are reading is very important. As a teacher, I always try to tell students that I don’t want someone taking advantage of them after they graduate because they do not know how to read well or because they misunderstood information. Often, you can get in trouble and it will be your fault for not reading the information correctly.

    Many people do not realize that reading is like a sport. The more you read, the better you get. You have to practice reading to become a better reader. The brain is a muscle and the more it is used, the stronger it becomes.

"By the age of 2, children who are read to regularly display greater language comprehension, larger vocabularies, and higher cognitive skills than their peers. Raikes, H., Pan, B.A., Luze, G.J., Tamis-LeMonda, C.S.,Brooks-Gunn, J., Constantine,J., Tarullo, L.B., Raikes, H.A., Rodriguez, E. (2006). “Mother-child book reading in low-income families: Correlates and outcomes during the first three years of life.” Child Development, 77(4)."

    The more books you read, the more your vocabulary develops. You learn about other cultures, different lifestyles, and the experience will help to develop your empathy for others. We tend to live in our own bubbles and only know and understand others just like us. When we encounter someone who looks, thinks, or speaks differently than us, we often want to be critical, offensive, or even ignore them. We are uncomfortable. Reading a variety of books opens up your mind to other people and experiences in the world. Many times when I read a book, I will explore a topic or even a geographical region I am unfamiliar with. Reading sparks that wanting to know and learn about things. Back before radio, television, XBox, and cellphones, families would gather together to read or tell stories aloud to each other which would spark discussion and debate. Today, when teens and parents may find their interests diverging from one another, reading the same book can help them to find common ground.

    Today, you can just Google whatever topic interests you. I have learned about so many different cultures and people just from reading fiction novels. When authors do a really good job of developing the characters, you almost feel like you know the person. You develop a connection with that character and you almost miss them when you finish the book.

     In today’s society, it is so much easier to pick up your cell phone and to just play Candy Crush,surf the web or fall down the next YouTube “rabbit hole” of kittens chasing laser lights. Make a point to teach your children, very young, to spend at least 30 minutes to an hour a day reading. Read to them before they go to bed. Read with them in your lap.Read a chapter of the book they are reading at school, outloud to them. Read poetry with them and talk about how the poem makes them feel. What better way to bond with your child than to read with them. Discuss what they read with them. Challenge your teen to read a favorite of yours from when you were a teenager. Then reread that book as an adult and talk about it afterwards. Ask them questions about what is going on in the book. Talk about the characters and what they like or don’t like about them. Who doesn’t love despising that one character that is so mean and causing trouble for the hero of the story?

    Is reading that important? Yes, it is THAT important. If you develop great reading skills, you can then learn almost any subject that much easier. If you are constantly trying to learn how to say the words or what the words mean, you totally miss out on the WHAT you are trying to learn. So many books are published about how to raise children, what is the best technique for this or that. The best thing you can do for a child is to love them, spend time with them,  and to teach them the love of reading by reading with them.

 

Great Read Alouds

Charlotte's Web  by E. B. White

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DeCamillo

Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson

No, David! By David Shannon

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis

 

Great Teen Reads

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

Lord of the Flies by William Golding

The Fault in Our Stars  by John Green



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