All about Reading
Research has shown that children which read regularly do better at school in all subjects.
Reading does not just help students with english literature and language but maths, physics, geography, in fact, all subjects.
For example, from lessons, it is often clear that a student knows the answers to questions but in an exam, fails to supply the correct information.
This is frequently labeled as poor exam technique, but what it actually means is that the
student does not understand the question well enough to know what information is required in the answer.
There is only one way to deal with this issue of 'poor exam technique' and that is to improve language skills - reading is an incredibly effective way of
Improved exam technique is just one of the many, many benefits of reading for students.
The Benefits of Reading
- Mental Stimulation
Studies have shown that staying mentally stimulated can slow the progress of (or possibly even prevent) Alzheimer's and Dementia, since keeping your
brain active and engaged prevents it from losing power. Just like any other muscle in the body, the brain requires exercise to keep it strong and healthy,
so the phrase "use it or lose it" is particularly apt when it comes to your mind. Doing puzzles and playing games such as chess have also been found to
be helpful with cognitive stimulation.
- Stress Reduction
No matter how much stress you have at work, in your personal relationships, or countless other issues faced in daily life, it all just slips away when you lose yourself in a great story. A well-written novel can transport you to other realms, while an engaging article will distract you and keep you in the present moment, letting tensions drain away and allowing you to relax.
Everything you read fills your head with new bits of information, and you never know when it might come in handy. The more knowledge you have, the
better - equipped you are to tackle any challenge you'll ever face.
Additionally, here's a bit of food for thought: should you ever find yourself in dire circumstances, remember that although you might lose everything else
- your job, your possessions, your money, even your health - knowledge can never be taken from you.
- Vocabulary Expansion
The more you read, the more words you gain exposure to, and they'll inevitably make their way into your everyday
vocabulary. Being articulate and well-spoken is of great help in any profession, and knowing that you can speak to higher-ups with self-confidence
can be an enormous boost to your self-esteem. It could even aid in your career, as those who are well-read, well-spoken, and knowledgeable on a variety
of topics tend to get promotions more quickly (and more often) than those with smaller vocabularies and lack of awareness of literature, scientific
breakthroughs, and global events.
Reading books is also vital for learning new languages, as non-native speakers gain exposure to words used in context, which will ameliorate their own
speaking and writing fluency.
- Memory Improvement
When you read a book, you have to remember an assortment of characters, their backgrounds, ambitions, history, and nuances, as well as the various arcs
and sub-plots that weave their way through every story. That's a fair bit to remember, but brains are marvellous things and can remember these things
with relative ease. Amazingly enough, every new memory you create forges new synapses (brain pathways)and strengthens existing ones, which assists in
short-term memory recall as well as stabilizing moods. How cool is that?
- Stronger Analytical Thinking Skills
Have you ever read an amazing mystery novel, and solved the mystery yourself before finishing the book? If so, you were able to put critical and
analytical thinking to work by taking note of all the details provided and sorting them out to determine "whodunnit".
That same ability to analyze details also comes in handy when it comes to critiquing the plot; determining whether it was a well-written piece, if the
characters were properly developed, if the storyline ran smoothly, etc. Should you ever have an opportunity to discuss the book with others, you'll be
able to state your opinions clearly, as you've taken the time to really consider all the aspects involved.
- Improved Focus and Concentration
In our internet-crazed world, attention is drawn in a million different directions at once as we multi-task through every day. In a single 5-minute span,
the average person will divide their time between working on a task, checking email, chatting with a couple of people (via gchat, skype, etc.), keeping an
eye on twitter, monitoring their smartphone, and interacting with co-workers. This type of ADD-like behaviour causes stress levels to rise, and lowers
When you read a book, all of your attention is focused on the story - the rest of the world just falls away, and you can immerse yourself in every fine detail
you're absorbing. Try reading for 15-20 minutes before work (i.e. on your morning commute, if you take public transit), and you'll be surprised at how
much more focused you are once you get to the office.
- Better Writing Skills
This goes hand-in-hand with the expansion of your vocabulary: exposure to published, well-written work has a noted effect on one's own writing, as observing
the cadence, fluidity, and writing styles of other authors will invariably influence your own work. In the same way that musicians influence one another, and
painters use techniques established by previous masters, so do writers learn how to craft prose by reading the works of others.
In addition to the relaxation that accompanies reading a good book, it's possible that the subject you read about can bring about immense inner peace and
tranquility. Reading spiritual texts can lower blood pressure and bring about an immense sense of calm, while reading self-help books has been shown to help
people suffering from certain mood disorders and mild mental illnesses.
- Free Entertainment
Though many of us like to buy books so we can annotate them and dog-ear pages for future reference, they can be quite pricey. For low-budget entertainment,
you can visit your local library and bask in the glory of the countless tomes available there for free. Libraries have books on every subject imaginable,
and since they rotate their stock and constantly get new books, you'll never run out of reading materials.
If you happen to live in an area that doesn't have a local library, or if you're mobility-impaired and can't get to one easily, most libraries have
their books available in PDF or ePub format so you can read them on your e-reader, iPad, or your computer screen. There are also many sources online where
you can download free e-books, so go hunting for something new to read!
There's a reading genre for every literate person on the planet, and whether your tastes lie in classical literature, poetry, fashion magazines,
biographies, religious texts, young adult books, self-help guides, street lit, or romance novels, there's something out there to capture your curiosity and
Keep reading with your children, parents urged
Parents should continue reading with their children throughout primary school, urges a report.
Too many parents ditch the daily reading habit once their child reaches the age of seven, according to research for Oxford University Press.
Some 44% of 1,000 parents of 6- to 11-year-olds polled said they rarely or never read with their child after their seventh birthday.
The report includes a series of tips for parents on how to keep pupils engaged with reading throughout primary school.
BBC News, 17 September 2013
How to read with your child
- Set aside some time
Find somewhere quiet without any distractions - turn off the TV/radio/computer.
- Ask your child to choose a book
Sharing books they have chosen shows you care what they think and that their opinion matters. This means they are more likely to engage with the book.
- Sit close together
Encourage your child to hold the book themselves and/or turn the pages.
- Point to the pictures
If there are illustrations, relate them to something your child knows. Ask them to describe the characters or situation. Encourage them to tell you the story by looking at the pictures.
- Encourage your child to talk about the book
Talking about the characters and their dilemmas helps children understand relationships and is an excellent way for you to get to know each other or discuss difficult issues. Give your child plenty of time to respond. Ask them what will happen next, how a character might be feeling, or how the book makes them feel.
- And lastly, above all - make it fun!
It doesn't matter how you read with a child, as long as you both enjoy the time together. Don't be afraid to use funny voices: children love this!
START YOUNG AND STAY WITH IT
At just a few months of age, an infant can look at pictures, listen to your voice, and point to objects on cardboard pages.
Guide your child by pointing
to the pictures, and say the names of the various objects. By drawing attention to pictures and associating words with both pictures and real-world objects,
your child will learn the importance of language.
Children learn to love the sound of language before they even notice the existence of printed words on a page.
Reading books aloud to children stimulates their imagination and expands their understanding of the world.
It helps them develop language and listening
skills and prepares them to understand the written word. When the rhythm and melody of language become a part of a child's life, learning to read will
be as natural as learning to walk and talk.
Even after children learn to read by themselves, it's still important for you to read aloud together. By reading stories that are on their interest level,
but beyond their reading level, you can stretch young readers' understanding and motivate them to improve their skills.
Although the life of a parent is often hectic, you should try to read with your child at least once a day at a regularly scheduled time. But don't be discouraged if you skip a day or don't always keep to your schedule. Just read to your child as often as you possibly can.
Taking the time to read with your children on a regular basis sends an important message: Reading is worthwhile.
READING WITH YOUR CHILD
Improve Reading Comprehension
Think about and Build their Background Knowledge
For children who struggle as readers and for those who don't, comprehension is important. Before children even open the book, they need to be encouraged
to think about what they are going to read. Ask them to read the title or look at the cover, maybe even the Table of Contents. What is the topic? What do
they already know about the topic? What do they think will happen in the story, based off what they know?
Using background knowledge is also vital as the child reads the text. What would I do in that situation? Has that happened to me before? I remember the
time that ... These thought patterns rely on what the child already knows to help them comprehend and make sense of the text.
If the child has little to no background knowledge, it makes it very difficult to predict what will happen next or connect with the text in meaningful ways,
interfering with the many comprehension strategies we want readers to use.
Introducing vocabulary goes hand-in-hand with building background knowledge, as often kids who do not have the background knowledge about a particular subject also do not have the vocabulary that accompanies that knowledge.
A child who has never been to a concert or symphony would probably struggle with words such as orchestra pit or balcony in a text.
How fluently a child can read the text affects comprehension. If a text is too hard, fluency or understanding will be compromised as most young readers
have a hard time focusing on both decoding all the words and thinking about what they are reading at the same time if either is beyond their level.
Fluency and comprehension can be improved by asking children to re-read and discuss texts.
Read Different Kinds of Texts
Struggling readers tend to shy away from non-fiction texts, and when they read, tend to stick to a single author or genre.
Maybe it's because non-fiction is typically more difficult because of its features and structure, but regardless of the reason, children
need to read a range of texts.
Provide Meaningful After Reading Activities
Asking meaningful questions and picking activities that encourage children to be critical thinkers is absolutely key.
Discuss books and their content with children.
BOOKS BY REVIEWER
'They had issues': Sally Wainwright and Tracy Chevalier discuss the Brontës
Sally Wainwright's new drama To Walk Invisible offers a radical new take on the Brontës. She talks to novelist Tracy Chevalier about the siblings'
The 10 Best Books of 2016
The year's best books, selected by the editors of The New York Times Book Review. 1 December 2016.
Charlotte Brontë, the filthy bitch
Enough of the Brontë industry's veneration of coffins, bonnets and TB. It is time to exhume the real Charlotte -
filthy bitch, grandmother of chick-lit, and friend.