Reading for life: The lifelong benefits of helping children to read
– Jane Sandwood
There’s no doubt that reading is a source of pleasure both for children and adults alike. And yet the benefits to be gained from reading reach way beyond the sheer enjoyment of discovering a good story. Reading in childhood sets the foundations for learning, broadens our understanding of new words and worlds, and develops our emotional intelligence – all of which have long-lasting impact for life.
Is print the only way?
Traditionally, we think of printed books as offering the most value to a child. They provide a full sensory experience with illustrations to devour and tactile elements to explore. But in terms of a literacy teaching aid, research shows that electronic formats, such as AniBooks and eBooks, also have a strong positive effect on children’s reading. In fact, Same Language Subtitling (SLS) used in AniBooks has been scientifically proven to help improve reading skills and language learning. Research published in Media Psychology has shown that subtitling aids understanding of both audio and visual elements of a film. And studies conducted by PlanetRead into eye-tracking suggest that subtitles evoke an automatic and inescapable reading response. SLS has already produced astounding results in improving literacy in India; newspaper reading amongst adults regularly watching subtitled shows has increased from 34% to 70%.
AniBooks have the power to produce similar results for boosting literacy in children. A study in Hawaii into reading comprehension amongst secondary school pupils showed that those exposed to SLS scored significantly higher in tests. This is all good news in our digital age, where online media can be accessed freely and easily.
Let’s now delve into the lifelong benefits to be gained from reading and discover how stories and books – delivered by either printed or digital format – can help your child develop into an intelligent, well-rounded, emotionally-intune adult.
Research has consistently proven that children who have increased exposure to reading are more likely to achieve better grades at school. This is because books introduce children to new words and how to use them. Even when they don’t understand a word, they absorb information from the context. And seeing words, as well as hearing them read by parents or by SLS in an AniBook, where subtitles are highlighted in perfect sync with the audio, helps the brain automatically register associations between sound and text.
In addition to developing literacy, books can expand a child’s knowledge base and vocabulary as they unconsciously absorb information as they read. And they will also develop the ability to focus and concentrate for prolonged periods – a key skill that aids learning.
Sparks the imagination
When your child reads a story, their imagination can take flight. Descriptions of people, places and storylines are translated into vivid pictures in the mind, capable of anything and everything. And even illustrated stories and AniBooks will feed a child’s imagination; for a story never stops when the reading ends!
Enhances emotional understanding
Reading provides an excellent training for young people in developing empathy. They connect with characters in fiction, gain insights into others’ reactions and motivations and compare them to their own. Researchers have shown that a good book will not only enable the reader to step into a character’s shoes but will also teach vocabulary to help the reader make sense of their own feelings.
In an age where stress affects children as much as adults, the need to learn the art of relaxation is key. Reading is a proven means to calm the mind, offering far more than mere distraction – by actively engaging in a reader’s imagination, a good story can provide total escapism. Build reading into a child’s bedtime routine to help them relax and disconnect from the concerns of the day.
Introduce your child to reading as early as possible. By reading to your baby, sharing stories with your toddler, and letting your older child explore books independently, you will help give them the very best start with access to benefits that will last for a lifetime. AniBooks make this easy; visit BookBox’s YouTube channel to access all AniBooks for free. You’ll find a collection of fun stories that combine entertainment with educational benefits to help your child develop a love of reading for life.