“Most children in England do not read on a daily basis: in 2011 just over a third (37%) of 10 year-olds surveyed reported reading for pleasure every day.” PIRLS 2011: Reading Achievement In England
Texting their friends, checking Facebook, surfing the internet, downloading music and films – our children are bombarded with technology. Most children over the age of 10 have a smartphone – and use it constantly! Is there any time – or inclination – to read a book? And for the dyslexic child who struggles with reading – why bother?
We know reading is good for our dyslexic children. It improves their literacy skills. And dyslexic children can gain the same benefits if they listen to an audiobook downloaded to their phone. But there are other amazing reasons for encouraging our children with dyslexia to read.
Reading develops your child’s personality
Harry Potter, Tracy Beaker, Matilda and Bilbo Baggins – all finely drawn characters to hook you into a story. Engaging characters help a child develop his own beliefs and personality as he compares his own thoughts and ideas to that of his favourite book character. And children often emulate a hero or heroine from a book.
Reading develops your child’s brain
You might think reading is a passive pastime – but as your child reads, his brain is working hard as he creates his own vivid mental images of the sights and sounds in the story. Reading exercises his brain, encouraging the connective tissue between the neurons to develop and helping them function better and faster. Unlike watching a film, when the sights and sounds are presented for us. Now that’s a passive activity!
Reading can make your child smarter
Your child could look at a text book or watch a film about evacuees in WWII. But imagine how much better his understanding if he read Goodnight Mr Tom by Michelle Magorian? Or if he experienced racial discrimination by reading Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman? Or learned about Victorian Workhouses from reading Oliver Twist? When he reads, your child actively engages with the subject, characters and surroundings, learning all the time – even though he doesn’t realise it!
Reading makes your child happier!
Your child may love being sucked into a fictional world at the end of a busy day at school. But reading can make your child happier in real life as well! A study by Liverpool University found that those who read a book for just 30-minutes per week reported greater overall life happiness, satisfaction, and social connectedness. When we are so concerned about the mental health of our children, that’s got to be a good thing!
Of course, getting your dyslexic child to read is not easy. For children who struggle with words, reading is not always fun and it’s easy to lose heart and stop trying. That’s where audio books and text-to-speech technology become essential to the child with dyslexia. Being able to listen to a story makes it possible for a child with dyslexia to access a book as quickly and easily as someone without any reading difficulties.
Listening to audio books allows your child with dyslexia to listen to the same books their friends are reading – and improve their literacy skills at the same time. Check out Listening Books – a low-cost way for your child to access thousands of fiction and non-fiction titles (supporting the National Curriculum from Key Stage 2 to A-Level).
So open the world of books for your child with dyslexia and help him read his way to a happy, healthy life!