It is an escape, a vacation, a trip to another place and time; reading is an exploration, an adventure, and a place to go. With no time like the present, teach your children the true value of a good book. Instilling a love of reading from a young age is crucial to a child’s reading skills, abilities, and desires. Do not allow your child to grow up believing reading is a ‘chore’ rather make the reading the reward in and of itself.
With older elementary and middle school age children, the love of reading and the love for books seems to have diminished forcing schools and parents to offer rewards, pizza parties, and the like for time spent reading. Don’t let your child fall into the rut of reading only when they have to and instead offer a wide selection of amazing finds that your older child simply cannot resist.
Here are 5 reasons you should encourage your older child to read:
1Improved language and communication skills
It is well-known that children who are exposed to reading have improved outcomes in school and on standardized testing, but these imperative language and communication skills go well beyond the classroom. Reading opens doors to careers and opportunities that children would otherwise never experience. Multiple studies have been conducted on the 30 million word gap and the fact that children who are read to and who learn to enjoy reading themselves come across and learn to understand and utilize a significantly larger amount of vocabulary words than their counterparts.
- Children from professional families are exposed to 215,000 words per week.
- Children from working families are exposed to 125,000 words per week.
- Children from families receiving welfare are exposed to 62,000 words per week.
2Improve critical thinking and reasoning skills
Reading teaches problem solving, critical thinking, logical thinking, and reasoning skills. Children who read also perform significantly better in mathematics related fields because of the concepts learned from reading. Children learn through the problem solving of the characters they encounter in books - they experience and are exposed to places, problems, and experiences they may never have in their own lives, but can learn from through reading.
When children are exposed to the trials and tribulations of the characters in their books they can begin to see and understand how the characters handle certain problems and apply the skills in their own lives. Older children and teens develop critical thinking skills by reflecting on what they are reading as they go and analyzing what it means.
3Boosted self-esteem and self-confidence
Older elementary and middle school age children are at a difficult place in their lives. This ‘tween’ stage is probably one of the most difficult for many parents to deal with, and is a critical stage in your child’s development mentally, socially, and emotionally. With so many changes happening both internally and externally at this time, this age group always seems to be in a state of angry, confused flux. Reading during this time helps boost a child’s self-esteem during a time when they need it most. It gives them characters to relate to and may help them feel better about themselves and more understood during a time when they true feel no one understands them. It can also boost their self-confidence by giving them something they are good at, reading, and again allowing them to relate to characters they are reading about making them realize they are not so alone. Making your child feel good about themselves during the older elementary and teen years is of utmost importance.
4Provides a safe space for kids to relax and unplug
Turn off the tech. Kids need a safe space to relax, de-stress, and zone in. They need somewhere that every move they make is not dictated by a like, comment, or share. Time spent alone curled up with a good book tech-free gives them that safe space. Getting lost in a good book makes time stand still and takes away the need to seek approval from their online community of friends at every turn. Take the phone, the tablet and the computer away and let your child delve into a good book where he or she might just learn a few subtle life lessons and use his or her imagination and creativity to envision another place and time.
5Improved outcomes in adulthood
Kids who read become adults who read, problem solve, and perform significantly better in their chosen careers. They are less likely to commit criminal offenses, spend time in juvenile detention centers or adult jails and prisons, or end up on welfare or living in poverty. These children are also less likely to have children themselves at a young age and end up in the vicious cycle that poverty tends to impose on the lower or undereducated in our population. Reading, critical reading in particular, significantly improves our children's literacy skills to the extent that testing, college acceptance rates, and entry into the professional workforce rather than blue-collar working class are higher.
Schiffer Books that are Just Right for School
While the benefits of reading for the school-age child are great, finding engaging, entertaining books to captivate and motivate them to read is important. Children need to learn to love reading, and as they get older that love is often contingent upon their interest in the subject matter. With so many other distractions - television, friends, games, and social media - it is necessary to find reading material that grabs and holds their interest. Here to help with a selection of books just right for school is Schiffer Publishing.
Titles we love include:
- Captive by Donna J. Stotlzfus
- Beauty and Bernice by Nancy Viau
- Just One Thing! by Nancy Viau
- A Promise Stitched in Time by Colleen Rowan Kosinski
- The President and Me: George Washington and the Magic Hat by Deborah Kalb
- The President and Me: John Adams and the Magic Bobblehead by Deborah Kalb
Intertwining time travel, historical facts, and fiction, these books from Schiffer Publishing offer your school-age reader both entertainment and education. These stories will delight and awe, evoking emotions school-age children are struggling to decipher, and take them on journey's outside of their own circle of knowledge. They will also give the school-age child a safe place and quiet place to de-stress and enjoy something other than tech, entertaining without a screen.
“Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.”~Charles William Eliot
Do not ever stop requiring or encouraging reading time as your children grow. Teach your child to read, instill a love of reading when they are little, and allow them to reap the rewards of reading for the rest of their lives.