I have always believed that reading to your children can only be a good thing but I never really sat down and quantified the benefits. I thought it would be interesting to see what the general view of people is on this question and so I did a bit of research on the benefits of reading to your children. Some of the benefits that emerged are fairly obvious, in particular the following five benefits:
1. Better long-term academic performance by the child;
2. Faster development of basic speech skills;
3. Greater long-term mastery of language;
4. Better communication skills; and
5. Physical ability to handle a book and turn the pages.
There were some other benefits, however, that interested me and which I wouldn’t have thought of immediately, such as:
1. Improved logical thinking skills;
2. Enhanced concentration and discipline; and
3. Increased ability to adapt to new circumstances.
The last two benefits, that I thought were very worthwhile but which are soft skills benefits, are an appreciation of reading and an improved relationship with your child.
All of the benefits listed above are very worthy but the one that interests me the most is the point on increased discipline. I am a chartered accountant with a limited knowledge of psychology but, in my humble opinion, it is a lack of discipline that causes many of the issues that arise with young people. It takes discipline to sit down and study, turning your back on the allure of iphones, ipads and Youtube. In our modern world, studying is necessary if you want to achieve, even if you are very bright and learning comes easily to you – you have to have at least read something in order to have a knowledge of it. It also takes discipline to stand tall in the face of peer pressure and turn away from experimenting with drugs and excessive intake of alcohol. Discipline is even required to read a book instead of resorting to the easier way of enjoying a story in the form of the movie – the gratification with a movie is much quicker and less effort even if a lot of the detail is left out of the story. I feel very strongly about the lack of discipline that has infiltrated our modern society and, therefore, it is very gratifying to me that I can work on instilling discipline in my own children, my nieces and nephews and other children I am in contact with just by reading them a good book.
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