How Reading Prepares Children for Success in Life

According to the U.S. Department of Education and the National Institute of Literacy, about 32 million adults in the United States cannot read. In fact, 50% of U.S. adults cannot read an eighth-grade level book. 36 million US adults lack the basic literacy skills needed to sustain employment. 

Illiteracy and low literacy are serious issues for US educators, policymakers, and communities. Getting children to read at their grade level is critical as it sets them up for future success. Reading to children before they can read and providing access to books are vital to building a reading culture. Here’s how reading sets up children for success in life. 

1. It Increases Concentration and Discipline

Regular reading exercises a child’s brain and enhances discipline and concentration. It’s rare for very young children to sit still for hours and focus on one thing. Reading can help. A child may initially get distracted during reading, but with time, they will learn to focus until the end. Reading increases children’s attention span, self-discipline, and memory retention--essential skills in adulthood. 

2. Develops Imagination and Creativity

Imagination fosters cognitive and social development. Imagining, experimenting, and trying new ways of doing things can help children develop critical thinking and problem solving skills. One of the greatest benefits of reading is it boosts imagination. When a child reads a story book, they picture everything vividly in their minds. 

Reading programs for kids can inspire children to use their imagination and explore places, people, times, and events beyond their experiences. Having a child guess what’s going to happen in the story and seeing their excitement as they read a book is a truly amazing thing. A child's imagination improves as they read books in different genres. Readers are critical thinkers. Critical thinking boosts creativity, helping children succeed at school and in life.

3. Prepare for Academic Success

The more words a child interacts with, the more words they learn and the stronger their language skills. The more they read, the more they know and the higher their chances of graduating from high school and succeeding in life. 

Exposing children to reading before preschool increases the likelihood of them doing well in school. It also builds their social skills and helps them to communicate better. 

Phonics, phonemic awareness, oral reading fluency, vocabulary, and reading comprehension are the five early reading skills essential for development. Reading at an early age helps children gain these skills. They learn new words, grow their vocabulary, and develop listening skills--all of which are vital to academic success.

4. Builds a Thirst for Knowledge

Knowledge is important in all areas of life. The more children read, the more they know. Reading builds curiosity because the reader will want to know what happens next. They ask questions and picture different scenarios. 

Reading aloud to children expands their understanding of the world and stimulates their imagination. It also helps them develop listening and language skills and to understand the written word. Even after a child learns to read, it's still important for you to read aloud together.

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