The Importance of Reading
One of the biggest casualties of the social media age is that children don’t feel motivated to read! With so much information and entertainment readily available online, it can be hard to find a reason to pick up a physical book (remember those?) But it is incredibly important to read, both for school and for pleasure!
There is simply no substitute for reading the textbook. Countless studies have shown that the process of reading, and particularly reading out loud, triggers the part of the brain that works with retaining information.
This benefit is augmented by note taking. When you read information, and then write it down (by hand) in your own words, your brain is far more likely to store the information in a productive way (for more note-taking advice, check out this post from our January Newsletter.)
Additionally, many teachers derive their assessments from the textbook and other assigned readings. If there’s a test question really stumping a student, the odds are good that the answer is in the pages of the book!
However, reading is not only useful academically. Reading for pleasure is an oft-overlooked but incredibly important practice to get into. Several studies have linked the act of reading to lower levels of anxiety and depression. In an age when so many teens are struggling with these mental health issues, it’s more important than ever to combat them.
Reading for pleasure has also been linked to higher academic achievement. The reasons for this are fairly obvious; it helps practice reading skills! Giving students a low-pressure environment to practice analyzing information and making inferences can help them translate those skills to an academic environment.
And of course, reading for pleasure teaches students about the world in a way that school sometimes doesn’t. They can see themselves in a character, understand how to empathize with difference perspectives, and learn about new cultures and people. And they do this all from the comfort of their own home. Reading cannot be allowed to fall victim to the rise of technology: it’s too important for too many reasons.