Too often, reading is a solitary activity. It’s just you, your book, and your imagination. Don’t get me wrong, reading for pleasure is a wonderful habit to develop because it is a long life hobby you’ll never get tired of pursuing. But reading doesn’t have to be something you do alone. One of the best things about recreational reading is the conversation that follows!
I’ve dived into the mental benefits of reading many times over the last year, like in “Creating Independent Middle School Readers,” touching upon ways recreational reading helps to reinforce literacy skills, inspire critical thinking, expand vocabulary, and improve reading comprehension both in school and in the real world.
There are also social benefits:
Reading in general helps us to draw connections between books and life, bridging people and worlds.
As parents, we strive to stay involved in our children’s lives. We want to know where they are, who they are with, what they are doing, how they are feeling. We ask questions–even when it’s like pulling teeth to get answers–because we want to share their experiences. The same concept can be applied to reading.
According to Scholastic, “By reading to your child — even after she can read on her own — and talking about the books you share together, you are sending a signal that reading is important.” But reading is more than important. It’s essential. A necessity. Reading improves language and literacy, and talking about the books we read strengthens reading comprehension, our ability to listen, and our ability to communicate.
Reading comprehension, a fundamental skill that will help children in every subject, isn’t valuable for just early elementary school students. Older elementary students, middle schoolers, even high schoolers, can benefit from group discussion. The next time your child picks up a book, regardless if they’re reading aloud, you’re reading aloud, or they’re advanced enough to read unaided, make time to sit down and talk about the book!
Here are some general questions to get you started:
Remember: there are no stupid questions!
By encouraging your children to discuss their favorite books, you also create the potential for them share these books with their friends, creating a network of enthusiastic readers!
In my “I Love To Read” assembly program, I highlight not only how useful reading is in daily life but also how necessary it is to have a rewarding and fulfilling life. This assembly teaches different genres of books, the difference between non-fiction and fiction, biographies and autobiographies, the functions of punctuation, correct spellings of similar sounding words, and so much more! Go to my “I Love To Read” assembly page.
In my “A Cat and A Hat” assembly program, I use the wacky, whimsical characters of the beloved Dr. Seuss books to highlight the gift that is diversity, how reading helps your brain develop, the importance of keeping your promises, and more! This Seussical assembly can be customized for a younger audience (K-2) or an older audience (3-5) to spread positive messages about building character. Go to my “A Cat and A Hat” assembly page.
In my “The Great Reading Adventure” assembly program, I highlight classic children’s literature like Harry Potter, Alice in Wonderland, Charlotte’s Web, Stuart Little, and more! Using these literary favorites, I break down the significance of plot, conflict, protagonist vs antagonist, genres, and more. Go to my “The Great Reading Adventure” assembly page.