“Imagination is more important than knowledge.” – Albert Einstein.
The ability of the mind to imagine, create and invent is exactly the recipe that aided Einstein in becoming one of the greatest – if not THE greatest – inventors of all time.
My son, Jonas, started reading from the tender age of 3 and the classic Enid Blyton books have always been his favourite. From Christmas and Santa Claus to talking toys and singing ducks, Jonas has read them all and often speaks enthusiastically about them to us.
A large part of Jonas’ early development was contributed by his love for reading. It not only expanded his imagination, it also played a vital role in strengthening his memory and improving his communication skills. I remember enjoying reading myself as a little girl, often relishing the moments when I found myself being transported to worlds of excitement and adventure, where a stick was not a stick and my imaginative mind was free to roam the grassy plains of magical fields.
So, what exactly makes reading so vital to a progressive young mind? The reasons are endless – but let’s look at the 5 most important ones.
Stories Promote Learning
Fictional stories are usually exciting and easy to understand. Stories for children in particular are told in a straightforward structure – they start slowly, peak in the middle and have a conclusion. It is precisely because of this narrative structure that makes fiction easy to absorb and remember.
So we have established that stories are memorable. How about stories with lessons to be learnt in them?
Imagine trying to teach your kids not to judge people based on their appearances. You could repeat yourself 20 times and still not be as effective at getting the message across as letting your child read a story that teaches this lesson, for example, The Ugly Duckling.
Do you remember these stories despite having read them years ago, back when you were a child yourself? If these age-old stories were effective in ingraining their lessons in us, they would sure be useful to our children today too.
Reading Strengthens Analytical and Problem-Solving Skills
Children often relate easily to characters in a story, and following a character’s journey as he fights his battles enhances a child’s analytical mind and allows him to develop his own problem-solving skills. Some easy-to-read books for preschoolers that encourage cerebral thinking are Stickman, where the main character overcomes hardship through courage to reunite with his family and The Mysterious Cheese Thief, where a mouse uses his deduction skills to catch a cheese thief!
Reading contributes to Academic Brilliance
Studies have proven that students who start reading early perform better in formal education, as reading produces higher aptitude for learning. Children who have been exposed to reading pick up new skills more quickly.
Another obvious academic advantage is the improvement of linguistic skills in the form of wider vocabulary and more precise oral communication. Some of my personal favourite titles with irresistibly captivating storylines with rich opportunities for vocabulary development are Diary of A Wimpy Kid and Rainbows, Rowan and True, True Romance from Karen McCombie’s series of Ally’s World books.
And of course, the most important reason of all – reading keeps children busy so Mom and Dad can take a much-needed breather!
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