Ever hear someone refer to their childhood and youth as “the best years of my life”? Well, we hope our kids’ happiness, growth, and fulfillment will stretch well beyond age 18, we also hope that a person’s younger years will be special. It is, after all, our job as parents and educators to help children find as much of “the good life” as they can.
At least some part of that “good life” needs to revolve around reading. Here are a handful of reasons why being a reader helps ensure that life in general will go a little more smoothly:
- Reading, and this can include being read to, boosts brain development (no big surprise here, right?). Humans were born to communicate, and getting a child into reading as early as possible (even when you think they’re too little to listen) gets those neurons firing early on.
- Reading demonstrates the importance of storytelling, yet another thing humans are known for. Whether it’s fiction or non-fiction, reading helps youngsters to learn that creating narrative and the sharing of ideas is part of how we function.
- Reading builds bonds. Co-reading brings families closer together, establishes friendships, and builds trust with educators.
- Reading also encourages empathy. Being privvy to the ins and outs of other human lives is pivotal to the social and emotional development of a child.
- Reading skills feed into all kinds of other skills, both inside and outside of the classroom. A child who is literate tends to have an easier time in all subject areas, and in navigating their world.
But what about kids who struggle with reading, or who just don’t seem keen on it? Well, the good news is that the definition of a successful or effective reader seems to be broadening. Being a good reader used to mean diving into books, sometimes very particular genres of books. These days, however, the list is getting longer, to include things like:
- comic books
- ebooks and interactive media
- text-heavy video games
In addition to broadening the variety of media from which a child can choose, the range of subject matter, types of characters, and settings are also growing. Instead of asking a kid “Do you like to read?” we’re starting to ask “What do you like to read?”, and we’re recognizing that just as there are many types of literature, there are many types of readers.
It’s an exciting time to be a publisher, and we feel lucky to have the chance to reach out to such a diverse audience. The thought of helping kids find a slice of the good life through reading is pretty sweet, and it’s what drives us to try new formats.
Cheers to the good life, and cheers to all kinds of kid readers!