Why should children read?
In a world of iPhones, Facebook, WiFi and, Netflix, when is the last time your child picked up a book? Everyone seems to have lost touch with the world of the written word but reading is an incredible pleasure when presented with the right book. Here are some reasons why reading is important as well as, some must-reads you can encourage your children to dive into (and perhaps give as a Christmas present).
1. Increasing vocabulary
The first, and perhaps most noticeable benefit from the outside, is an increased vocabulary and mastery of language. Learning new words and means of expression is a process. We move from a passive use (understanding what something means) to an active use (actually using it ourselves). As your children read, they will learn to figure out the meanings of words through context. They’ll come across countless, exciting ways to describe all sorts of different situations and emotions. Eventually, they will naturally adopt these and be able to use them.
2. Improve cognitive skills
Reading is also an act of discipline. Watching a film is easy – just sit back and soak it all up. Reading with purpose takes focus and concentration. Everyone is familiar with the feeling of having read the same sentence multiple times without actually processing it. Extracting meaning from writing is a skill and one that your children can transfer to general areas of cognition necessary for other unrelated tasks, such as attention and inhibition.
3. Increase intelligence
Reading improves your memory. Absorbing information and reflecting on it is a method of ‘exercise’ for the brain. Lots of studies have shown a positive correlation between regular reading and academic achievement.
4. Expand knowledge
Reading books by authors from different walks of life will give your children a wider understanding of different people’s perspectives. It will educate them on relationships, emotions, society, diversity etc.
5. A method of relaxation
Reading is fun and provides a way for your children to closing off the stress of the world; replacing any stress or worry with fantasy or science or philosophy or politics. Dwarfed by the enormity of technology and social media, we’ve simply forgotten reading is still as big (even bigger!) an option as it ever was. The enthusiasm and open-mindedness your children will undoubtedly show will advance their opportunities and help them meet new people.
What to read?
Here are some books we can read to children as they grow up, feel free to suggest more children books written by African/Nigerian authors.
Chike and the River by Chinua Achebe
Chike and the River is a children’s story by Chinua Achebe. It was first published in 1966 by Cambridge University Press, with illustrations by Prue Theobalds.
It is the story of a Nigerian boy called Chike who leaves his village, Umuofia, to go and stay with his uncle in the big city of Onitsha. The New York Journal of Books says: “In Chike and the River, young readers get an intimate look at African life, learn about the Niger River, and connect with Chike as if he is their own sibling
Winnie the Pooh by A A Milne
Winnie-the-Pooh, also called Pooh Bear, is a fictional anthropomorphic teddy bear created by A. A. Milne. It is one of the best stories to narrate to children because in the book Pooh is occasionally acknowledged to have a clever idea, usually driven by common sense. These include riding in Christopher Robin’s umbrella to rescue Piglet from a flood, discovering “the North Pole” by picking it up to help fish Roo out of the river, inventing the game of Poohsticks, and getting Eeyore out of the river by dropping a large rock on one side of him to wash him towards the bank.
Matilda by Roald Dahl and Quentin Blake
This modern fairy-tale with a brilliantly inspiring young heroine tells the story of Matilda who is not yet five years old and who reads a lot of books. Full of magic and mischief, children will love witnessing Matilda pit her strength, courage and cool intelligence against the nasty and spiteful adults in her life, and ultimately coming out on top.
Charlotte’s Web by E B White
Charlotte’s Web is a children’s novel by American author E. B. White and illustrated by Garth Williams. Written in White’s dry, low-key manner, Charlotte’s Web is considered a classic of children’s literature, enjoyable to adults as well as children.
The Adventures of Tintin by Hergé Egmont
This book is also very good for children as it documents resourceful junior reporter Tintin as he embark on a series of exciting international adventures, accompanied by his faithful dog Snowy.
If your child enjoys this, why not try foreign reads like:
- Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
- We by Yevgeny Zamyatin
When reading, it can be fantastic to discuss your thoughts with others. Why not book your children an EduPoint session by calling 08177772980 or +234 814 512 9758. We have many English Literature tutors to choose from. A tutor will expand their analysis and knowledge of these texts.