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Why It Is Important to Encourage Reading and Writing Habits in Children

I am an education enthusiast. I believe that education is power and a foundation to a better life. Children's education is important sector.

Encourage the love of reading and writing in children early

Encourage the love of reading and writing in children early

Tech Savvy Generation

Children today are extremely tech-savvy and are habituated to multiple screens most of the time. But when it come to choosing gadgets over books, experts elect the latter than the former. As per research, prolonged television viewing is unhealthy for the children. They believe that books instill imagination, creativity and self-esteem in them. The new trend of customized books can add fun to reading and help improve imagination and cognition. This is a unique concept in which the child becomes the protagonist of the story and has control over the storyline. Being a part of the story improves the child’s attention and listening skills.

Love of Reading and Writing

Children by nature are imaginative and creative. The love of reading books and the practice of writing their thoughts and making up their own stories has many benefits and help in their individual and academic growth. It improves communication and social skills and make them self-confident and strong to face the world as they grow older. I remember how I used to love reading during my school and college days. Once I started reading a book, I just could not put it down till I finished it. So was it with writing. I have loved writing ever since my childhood. I used to maintain a diary and wrote in it every day. Now sometimes I take up my old diaries and it is fun to read them. I think of the thoughts, emotions, ideologies of the past me, compare it with the thoughts, feelings of the present me and realize how much time, age and circumstances change a person.

The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go

— Dr. Seuss

I always encouraged my children to maintain a journal or diary and write regularly. They did and regularly wrote in their diaries during their school days. It sure did relieve them from a lot of anxiety and stress that comes naturally during the school life of all children. They never had any problems either with their peers or teachers. Their academic performance was stellar and I did not have the time to give much attention to their studies, being a working mother. They managed their studies all by themselves. I am proud of their achievements and looking back on their childhood, I believe it is the love of books, of reading and writing that has shaped them into such fine people. Alas, children today are more attached to screens than books. They know not the joys of reading and the immense benefits of writing.

Reading is Important

There is a popular saying “what yoga is to the body; reading is to the mind and soul”. Concentrating on the storyline and the words in the story, helps the child’s brain to absorb large amounts of information, thus improving critical thinking and analysis skills. The debate on gadgets versus books is an ongoing one. For a busy parent, handing over a gadget to the child is the easiest way out. But there are various studies that prove that cultivating the habit of reading has immense benefits to the child.

Let us remember: One book, one pen, one child, and one teacher can change the world

— Malala Yousafzai

Here are the benefits of reading:

Enhances Imagination: Reading books helps develop empathy, imagination and an unquenchable thirst for knowledge in children. As the child begins to read a storybook, he slowly gets engrossed in the story and by the time the story ends, the picture of all the characters is formed in his mind. He will remember it for a long time because the impact of words is so much stronger.

Improves Vocabulary: When children read stories, they pick new words. When they come across new words and seek their meaning, and learn them, their vocabulary improves. Reading aloud in a group not only improves their vocabulary but improves their power of expression, builds confidence, and improves public speaking skills.

A Pleasant way to Unwind: Spending significant amount of time in front of screens can be exhausting for children. So, the best way to unwind is to relax with a book. Customized books transport children into a different world, thus relieving them of the stresses of the real world. Apart from being an escape into another world, books also impart knowledge and prepare the children to face the world. Reading in a group further encourages them to form the healthy habit of reading and a lifelong love of reading.

Enhances Social Interaction: When children read the scenes of character interaction in the stories, they learn the skills of social interaction. As also the various situations in life and how to handle them. Various studies suggest that reading exercises that part of the brain which is involved in empathy and imagination. They also feel more connected as it gives them a world view of others. They recognize their own identity and grow emotionally.

Strengthens Relationships and Creates Stronger Bonds: When parents regularly read with their children, they develop a stronger bond with them. It also gives the children the feeling of being loved and cared for which is important for their nurturing and wellbeing. Reading books helps children develop the art of conversation. They help in having smart, fulfilling interactions with other people which in turn leads to good relationships. As reading reduces the stress levels, children develop a pleasant demeanor and easily make friends with others. This helps in their future relationships

Importance of Writing

Children today belong to a digital era. So naturally they write lesser as most of their work is online. During the pandemic, the trend of online education has further accelerated this transition to typing from writing. But writing is an important skill for students as it engages the brain in a way that is different than typing on a keyboard. Studies show that writing improves memory and helps students retain information and new ideas in a much better way than typing. This is attributed to the correlation of the brain and the sensory aspect involved in holding the pen to write.

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A word after a word after a word is power.

— Margaret Atwood

Improvement of Communication Skills: Communication is essential to succeed in any field in life. Children are able to learn all the rules of grammar, syntax, spelling, punctuation and so on and will grow up to be good communicators. By practicing writing, children are able to better organize their ideas, express them effectively and be able to get across the message correctly which will help them in their academics and gain success in their careers. Writing is a very effective form of communication and often delivers the message clearly when oral communications fail to do so.

Development of Creativity and Imagination: Research confirms that writing activates the ‘frontal cortex’ of the brain. The more one writes, the more ideas get generated and creative ideas are formed. They come up with new out of the box ideas which will later help them in their future career and life to solve difficult problems. Their creative potential can be recognized early and when guided in the right path, they can pursue their passions and lead happier and fulfilling lives.

Increase of Knowledge: To write one needs to read and this naturally increases knowledge.
Improves Memory: Writing improves memory. When I studied at school and then college, I used to write extensively, especially the subject matter I found difficult to remember. Writing surely made me understand the aspects well and also remember it for longer period of time

Increase of Confidence: The habit of writing increases confidence in children. Children when encouraged to write from a young age will learn the joy of writing as they grow. At first it may not seem to be coherent what they write their thoughts and feelings, but will slowly learn to write articulately and develop the skill of writing.

Enhancement of Memory and Knowledge: I remember distinctly how when I was a student, I made copious amounts of notes when a lesson was taught in the class. This greatly helped me to remember the aspects and later also helped during revision at the time of the exams. Listening to the lectures and writing down the points helps to retain the topic learnt. The habit of writing from an early age helps children develop a love of writing which enhances their memory and knowledge.

Best Therapy to Relieve Anxiety and Stress: Research shows that writing has therapeutic benefits and that writing strengthens the mind and immune system. For children writing about their experiences can relieve them from anxiety and stress. It also makes them analyze problems and search for solutions for them. They grow up to be better equipped to handle stressful situations and find innovative methods to solve problems and face difficult situations in life.

You should write because you love the shape of stories and sentences and the creation of different words on a page. Writing comes from reading, and reading is the finest teacher of how to write.

— Annie Proulx

Powerful tool for success: We have often heard the phrase, “the pen is mightier than the sword”. We have also seen how people get influenced by good articles and books and how some writers gain immense fame, respect and admiration in society because of the power of their writing. A well-constructed letter is far more effective in communicating the message than a telephonic or in person conversation. An immortal record of thoughts, ideas and experiences is created when they are put down on paper. The reader gets instantly transported into the land and life of the writer and feel closely connected to them. Thus, children need to develop this powerful tool of communication which can help them later on to gain success in life.

Screen time has increased significantly for children today.

Screen time has increased significantly for children today.

Health Risks Associated with Increase in Screen time

The digital screen time of children has increased significantly during the pandemic resulting in potential risks to their physical health. As per the findings of a new study conducted by Anglia Ruskin University and published in the journal of school health. the risks associated with the use of digital devices was eye problems, neck and shoulder strain. Increase in sedentary time spent, overeating resulting in health issues like obesity.

In this regard lead author professor Shahina Pardhan, says that it is essential that devices are used appropriately, and that activities away from devices be encouraged such as playing outdoors. Also, that schools should make sure time spent on devices is maximized for learning and minimized for other activities. She recommended governments to work with schools to form home based learning guidelines that encourage creative learning away from devices, promoting other type of activities and frequent screen breaks. Co-author Dr.Robin Driscoll said that through increasing awareness of the risks associated with high levels of digital screen use and sharing strategies to reduce the negative effects, teachers, and parents should to encouraged to enhance the health and wellbeing of children.

References

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 VIDYA D SAGAR

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