Making it through the mayhem of a day, we all have secretly longed for the time at night when we finally get to snuggle our children and read one of their favorite story books with them.
Reading is one of the few activities that enjoys an undisputable reputation as one of the most fun activities that we all love sharing with our children.
It is also a cornerstone in raising a healthy child.
But, before we dive into the list of core physical benefits that ‘reading’ brings along, it would be intuitive to briefly overview what physical development entails for your child.
Making Sense of the Physical Development…
Physical development can be broadly categorized into
- ‘development’ that involves exercising control over physical abilities to accomplish challenging tasks in a skillful manner.
2. ‘growth’; that is about the bodily changes
It is also interesting to note that these two aspects of physical development are interlinked and interdependent.
As a mother, we can hardly ever ignore all the social, emotional, and physical developmental benefits that “reading” has for our kids.
Though, some of us are still skeptical about it and we can’t help but wonder “what is so big about reading some words!”.
Well, you’re in for a surprise, moms!
Reading as an activity appears quite simple but when you really research all the facts, you’ll come to appreciate how complex it really is.
Understanding the Complexity of ‘Reading’
Latest research in a field of Psychology (i.e. Cognitive Psychology) has illuminated an overly complex system that operates when it comes to the ability to ‘read’.
- There’s a lot of metacognitive aspects involved (so much for ‘not being a fancy activity!’). There’s a lot of highly active textual comprehension going on, which is definitely exciting for your child!
- For moms with a keen interest in scientific details, it involves letter perception with peripheral visual processing. But let’s simply what this really means for your kid! Well, it is all about the ‘higher order processes’ or the complex advanced thinking happening.
As a mom, we all have looked for each and every possibility of creating as many conducive opportunities for our kids as possible.
Reading seems to be one magical solution for all our questions.
In one of the reports by ‘Reading is Fundamental’ (RIF), it was shared that reading plays a significant role in child development from infancy.
You’d be surprised to learn that benefits of reading go deeper and far back than the age of infancy (i.e. when you still have your precious little one tucked securely inside of you).
Reading is far more beneficial than passive activities, including watching cartoons or online gaming.
Certainly, the struggle against ‘screen time’ is painfully real for us, as a mother!
Thus, we may appreciate the deep connection that reading shares with human neurology and how remarkably it influences the young brain.
Looking through the ‘Researcher’s Lens’…!
We all have heard about several social, emotional, and other benefits that come with an improved reading ability.
However, it seems unrealistic to many that reading may, in fact, influence a child’s physical development as well.
However, time and again research has established a strong relationship between reading abilities and the physical development.
For readers who crave for specific scientific facts, it means maturation of complex brain circuits, language development, and refinement of advanced cognitive abilities etc.
To simplify, it’s all really an advanced physical developmental milestone for your child.
It seems that reading is, indeed, one of the magical abilities that ‘literally’ changes the brain!
How Reading Impacts Physical Development?
So, it wouldn’t be wrong to highlight reading ability may be one of the key game changers for success in later life.
So, without further ado, let’s review five key physical benefits of reading for your child…
Benefit # 1: Read to Savor a Brainy-Workout…!
This is all about how reading connects with deeply with the physical development of your child.
While our kids are involved in reading activity, their brains are really “working out”!
- Reading helps improve the cognitive development, concentration levels, and memory.
- While reading, the existing connections in the brain get reinforced and several new connections develop (which is exciting especially for a young brain).
The first three years in the life of a child are crucial for brain development, as about 80% of development would happen during that time.
This is a HUGE percentage and nothing to be taken for granted!
A child-brain functions more like a curious sponge; soaking up bits of information over time.
In this critical developmental milestone, reading plays a vital role.
Here’s some scientific technical jargon for the curious ones:
One of the regions in brain that gets affected, while reading, or shows enhanced activity is called “somatosensory cortex” (it responds to physical sensations like movement and pain).
There’s more to this surreal story…
when you ‘read aloud’ to your kids, the cognitive benefits simply multiply!
Brain scans reveal that when kids are hearing stories, the parts of their brain responsible for story comprehension, meanings, and visual imagery, strengthen.
Benefit # 2. It improves Concentration!
While reading, your child learns to have an improved concentration that would prove to be beneficial in several other areas of his/her life.
This has stronger implications for overall academic success and advancement in several other areas in life.
It is indeed a challenging task to get those young-vibrant minds in the habit of reading.
However, once you accomplish this milestone, their concentration span and memory retention improve substantially.
It’s a win-win for parents!
Benefit # 3. Language & Vocabulary Development
Another meaningful development is advancement of language.
Although it appears to be irrelevant, language development deeply links with physical advancement in your child.
The regions of brain that are responsible for language development are actively involved and stimulated during reading activity.
Intuitively, language development plays a significant role in other areas of your child’s life (such as social skills).
Who doesn’t adore a talkative young one!
Benefit # 4. Heightened Senses and Enhanced Imagination!
Young children are natural dreamers!
They have remarkable creative instincts and vibrant imaginations that gets more diversified as parents inculcate the reading habit in their kids.
Imagination has played a vital role towards the psycho-physical well-being.
It directly impacts the health of your child and lowers various inflammatory factors.
When your child is involved in reading activity, he/she can put all the different sense to use by visualizing it along!
What happens when you read this: “do not think about the WHITE ELEPHANT…?”
Did you not picture a ‘white elephant’ right here and now?
Can you not visualize a ‘white elephant’?
Well, this is what happens while your child is indulged in the reading activity.
Reading gives an opportunity of visualization, imagination and sensory engagement to your child that is multi-faceted and has profound impact.
Benefit # 5. Raising a Resilient Child!
The physical impact that reading has on our kids (or us) is not limited to brain development, creativity, sensory development, language enhancement, or improved concentration.
As a parent, you will find that reading also has profound protective effect on your child.
When your child gets into the habit of regular reading, the brain is working out consistently and has enhanced functioning.
This type of cognitive stimulation has long lasting impact towards physical development and well-being of your child.
It reduces the risk of developing Alzheimer and dementia, in later life.
When it is about our children, we all have been extra cautious about sleep routines.
As a parent, you can’t deny how important sleep is for growth and physical development of your kid.
Interestingly, just 30 minutes of reading a day promotes sleep!
It also helps lower psychological distress and depression that ultimately affects physical well-being and development.
A study found that those who were in consistent habit of reading books lived longer than others.
It is interesting to appreciate the fact that a simple activity of “reading” would have such a huge impact on the physical development of your child.
So, what’s the big takeaway?!
The impact of reading on your child’s physical development and its significance in later life is undeniable.
To sum it up here are a few takeaways from this:
When your child is involved in reading activity, he/she will enjoy…
- Enhanced brain functioning/development
- Improved concentration levels
- Development of advanced language comprehension
- Heightened sensory experience and improved imagination
- Psycho-physiological resilience or buffer effect
- better quality of sleep
- stress reduction/reduction in cortisol levels
- longevity of life
With so many physical advantages of reading, it becomes hard to ignore the important place that this activity holds in the life of your child.
If you haven’t already started working on this milestone…
It’s never too late to pick up a book and go down the story lane, all the while enjoying the physical and psychological benefits of this activity!
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How to teach your child to read“
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Please note that these techniques are not intended to replace professional care and are for entertainment purposes only.