The importance of reading

From the days when as a little girl, I used to love the Enid Blyton mysteries, to the young adult who became engrossed in the novels by Yorkshire born novelist, Barbara Taylor Bradford, I have always loved and encouraged reading.
Today, I am a writer. Perhaps not a best-selling author, but one who can celebrate a certain amount of publication and success. I have come to realise that writing can be both therapeutic and challenging. It empties the thoughts from my head.

One of the questions I have asked kids during my many school visits has been, what inspires you to read a book? Indeed, what first attracts them to a book? I usually ask for a show of hands as to who likes reading and it is more often the girls who are in the majority as avid readers, whilst the boys would rather kick a ball around or build a bridge. Not literally, of course!
I know over recent years there has been an emphasis on getting boys reading and publishers have been on the lookout for new material and authors to fill that gap. Books with bite size short stories such as The Wimpy Kid series by Jeff Kinney, with plenty of illustrations has been such a hit. Whilst an appealing book cover and an encouraging and interesting blurb does much to attract a reader. And may be the draw in a well-stocked school library, I firmly believe that reading begins in the home.

There is so much truth in the proverb;
‘Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.’

The love of reading will develop if encouraged at an early age at home. Am I stating the obvious when I say the home environment is so critically important? That those early years and how a child is taught and disciplined will lay the foundations for the future. Behaviour is copied. If a child sees his parents reading, he will read. If quiet time in the home is encouraged, it will be observed. As adults, we are responsible for developing a love of reading which ultimately will educate, whilst entertaining our children. Not to mention, give us adults some much needed quiet time after a busy day.

Did you know?
Reading is exercise for the brain.
Reading improves concentration and cognitive development.
Reading stimulates the child’s own artistic and imaginative skills.
Reading undoubtedly improves vocabulary.

Have you heard the expression children grow up whilst were not looking? Too true. Those early years pass so quickly and I’m sure many parents will admit to not spending enough time with their kids. Today’s society makes it too easy to sit them in front of a TV screen or games consoles. There really is material out there – of differing genres – to suit every personality. We just need to find it. Whether it comes in comic form, novella, diary or children’s newspaper, there is something for all. Children can be encouraged by reading rewards, allowing them to tap into a collection by an author and build on that. To gain points and compete with siblings and friends as to how many books they read in a given period. One idea which I came across which I thought was brilliant was the 16 Before You’re 16 Challenge. To choose 16 children’s classics, such as – To Kill A Mockingbird and Brave New World before they turn 16. Show an interest in what they are reading, encourage them by asking about the
story line and what they like or don’t like. Finding what suits your child, reading can export them into another world and should be encouraged.
My recommendation for all, if nothing else every child should read C.S Lewis, Chronicles of Narnia.
Happy Reading