Today, March 2nd is Read Across America Day, as well as the birthday of the beloved children’s author, Dr. Seuss. It’s a great day to celebrate and discuss the importance of reading. We’ve written before about why good readers make good writers, but the importance of reading stretches to everyone, writers or otherwise. Reading is important throughout all stages of life, from childhood into old age.
The importance of reading for children
Read Across America Day was created to get more kids excited about reading. The idea behind the celebration was to create the same sense of enthusiasm for reading as schools do for sports and spirit weeks. It’s a wonderful initiative that shows children just how fun reading can be. Reading can be a challenge for some children, and that challenge can cause them to shy away from books and proclaim that reading simply doesn’t interest them. However, it is imperative that all children are given the guidance and encouragement they need to work on their reading skills.
For children whose minds are still actively developing, the importance of reading goes far beyond the enjoyment of books. Proper reading skills help children develop better communication skills as well as improved comprehension across all school subjects. Many studies show that children that read or are read to often in preschool and kindergarten perform better in other subjects such as math and science than students who have had less exposure to books.
Finding the right book is essential. Children need to have access to books that they enjoy, so that they can also come to enjoy the act of reading itself. Dr. Seuss books are a great place to start!
The importance of reading for adults
A child’s mind needs stimulation in order to develop, and the same is true for the mind of an adult! Books can serve so many purposes for adults and can truly help expand their minds. Here are just a few benefits to reading:
Learn new things
Books can teach you so much, whether it be how to perform a specific task such as building your own furniture, or how to guide yourself through a difficult time, such as a divorce. There are direct ways of learning through books that are written with the intent to teach the reader a new skill, but DIY and Self Help books are certainly not the only types of books that can teach the reader something. The beauty of reading is that each reader experiences the book in his or her own way. You might read a novel and learn something new about yourself. Nonfiction books can expose you to a facet of history you didn’t know before because life is nonfiction, after all. Books make excellent teachers.
Relate to others
Reading books can also help you relate to others on a deeper level. While reading a painful story that was written with brutal honesty, you might start to see yourself within the pages. You may even feel as if the writer put into words what you yourself could not.
Of course, the importance of reading as a way to relate to others isn’t just about relating to people who have had experiences similar to your own. Stories, fiction or nonfiction, can allow you to see through the eyes of someone else and give you a better understanding of a situation, experience, or perspective that you had never explored on your own. Books expand your mind by allowing you to reach outside your own life and take a look at something new.
Get exposed to different experiences
You are only one person. You cannot see every place or experience every situation firsthand. You can, however, expose yourself to an incredibly diverse variety of people, places, and experiences through books. Reading may expose you to a hobby that you had never considered but, after reading about it, find that you might really enjoy it. Stories can give you some perspective when it comes to tough topics and choices that people are faced with every day, even if you yourself have never had to make those difficult decisions. Books expose you to worlds outside of your own, which is why reading is so incredibly important.
Read Across America Day may have been created with children in mind, but I urge you to honor this day by picking up a book and re-dedicating yourself to reading.