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Parents and Carers - Why Learning to Read is One of the Most Important Skills Your Child Will Learn

Dorothy Massey

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Reading helps your child learn about and understand the world in which he lives. Through reading he learns new words and phrases he can use in order to express himself. For example, reading helps a child learn about the passing of time and how to express it. Examples of phrases he will learn are; “Once upon a time", “The next day" or “On Monday".

Reading develops the imagination by taking your child into another world where anything is possible. Witches and ghosts, magic carpets, fairies and genies, are just a few of the wonders he will discover.

Reading allows a child to learn more about what interests him. It develops thought skills such as anticipation, (guessing what will happen next) and memory (what has happened already). It also allows children to explore and express their feelings and those of others. Reading is an activity which can be enjoyed alone or with others. Books help us to understand more about the world we live in. They also allow us to explore beyond that world and enter new worlds which don't really exist.

What are the benefits of good reading skills?

One of the main benefits of good reading skills is the ability to find information and knowledge. People with good reading skills are able to get information easily. They are able to follow written instructions, read maps, enjoy stories, novels or poems and use reference books to find information.

Good readers have access to an unlimited supply of knowledge and fantasy. They learn how to express themselves. They learn to understand that other people might think, act and dress differently from them.

What are the effects of poor reading skills?

Children with poor reading skills often get ‘left behind’. They become more and more frustrated. They compare themselves (or, even worse, are compared) with others and feel stupid. Reading becomes a chore, something they dislike.

Adults with poor reading skills often go to great lengths to hide their lack of ability. They are less likely to be able to gain well-paid employment or may be overlooked for promotion. This leads to frustration and low self-esteem because they are aware of the disadvantage poor reading skills gives them.

Research has shown that children of parents with poor reading skills are more likely to have poor reading skills too. This proves how important parents or carers are in the development of a child's reading skills.

Dorothy Massey is the author of Better English published by Studymates and the Ghost Twin Tales: Mini Mysteries and Kooky Spookies, a Pinestein Press publication. An expert in literacy for adults and children, she writes quality educational materials and children's fiction. To find out more about Dorothy and writing for children in the UK, visit Dorothy's blog:


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