BY MARIA LUISA SALCINES
My grandsons are at an age when they prefer doing just about anything other than read.
From experience, I have come to know that it is harder to get boys to read than it is girls. Just getting boys to sit still for half an hour poses a challenge.
Results from two of the largest studies ever conducted in the United Kingdom show that boys of all ages and socioeconomic status’ read less often than girls.
Boys also tend to choose “easier” books to read, miss and skip large sections from pages and lag well-behind girls when it comes to comprehension and performance on reading tests.
The benefits of reading go beyond academic consideration. Reading can have a significant impact on how your child empathizes with others, as well as affect their ability to view different points of view.
The act improves a child’s vocabulary and can assist them in speaking properly — a trait most crucial to how others view or a assess one’s intelligence. It can also teach morals and values.
Reading is an activity that children can turn to when they need a break from social stresses.
Studies have found that reading can slow memory decline, because the brain, just like other parts of your body, needs to be worked out in order to increase and maintain focus and concentration.
Reading has also been found to improve one’s mood. Many people report that when they carve out time to read, they notice an uplifted spirit and greater overall inner happiness.
Psychology Today reports that approximately 42 percent of college graduates will never read a book again after graduation. This is a startling percentage and personally, what I would consider a very sad — not to mention alarming — statistic.
The most important thing you can do as a parent is to start reading to your child from an early age.
Buy your toddlers cloth books and do whatever it takes to get into the habit of reading to your child on a daily basis.
The goal is to get your child to love reading before they begin school. Otherwise they may come to associate reading with schoolwork, a task even fewer enjoy.
This Christmas I bought my grandsons and my nephew graphic novels; they loved them.
A graphic novel is a full-length story written similarly to a comic book and is presented in paneled, sequential and graphic format.
These books are great for children who are reluctant readers. The pictures peak their interest and the word-to-picture correlation helps a child expand his or her vocabulary.
If you have a reluctant reader on your hands, I strongly encourage you look into these types of books.
For a list of graphic novels developed for librarians by the Association of Library Services to Children, visit ilovelibraries.org.
Encourage reading at an early age and you will be helping your child gain access to a lifelong hobby and the increased probability of success.
Maria Luisa Salcines is a freelance writer and certified parent educator with The International Network for Children and Families in Redirecting Children’s Behavior and Redirecting for a Cooperative Classroom. Follow her on Twitter @PowerOfFamily, Instagram @mlsalcines or contact her on her blog FamilyLifeandFindingHappy.com.