How to in­still a love of read­ing in young­sters

Read­ing can pro­vide a host health benefits, some of which may sur­prise even the most avid reader.

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Read­ing is a re­ward­ing ac­tiv­ity that can ben­e­fit peo­ple through­out their lives. A great way to pass time on a sum­mer day at the beach, read­ing also can pro­vide a host health benefits, some of which may sur­prise even the most avid reader.

Ac­cord­ing to a re­view from the Cochrane Li­brary, a sci­en­tific re­view board in the United Kingdom, men­tally challengin­g tasks may be ben­e­fi­cial for peo­ple with mild to moder­ate Alzheimer’s dis­ease. Men­tal stim­u­la­tion im­proved scores on mem­ory and think­ing tests for peo­ple with de­men­tia.

But the benefits of read­ing are per­haps even more pro­found for chil­dren. The Univer­sity of Michi­gan C.S. Mott Chil­dren’s Hos­pi­tal notes that read­ing and writ­ing skills can help chil­dren per­form bet­ter in the class­room and even ben­e­fit

them down the road in their pro­fes­sional lives. When chil­dren read, they de­velop skills such as pho­ne­mic aware­ness, which is the abil­ity to hear, iden­tify and play with in­di­vid­ual sounds in spo­ken words. Read­ing also can help kids de­velop their vo­cab­u­lary and read­ing com­pre­hen­sion skills.

As much as par­ents pro­mote read­ing to their young­sters, get­ting kids to em­brace read­ing can be dif­fi­cult. That may be es­pe­cially true to­day, when chil­dren have dis­trac­tions like tablets, phones and so­cial me­dia com­pet­ing for their at­ten­tion. Par­ents who want to make read­ing part of their fam­ily life­style can try these tips, courtesy of the C.S. Mott Chil­dren’s Hos­pi­tal.

• Turn off your de­vices. The AAP says chil­dren young­ster than 18 months should be dis­cour­aged from us­ing screen me­dia other than video chat­ting. Chil­dren be­tween 18 and 24 months of age should only use dig­i­tal de­vices to­gether with their par­ents. For chil­dren older than two years of age, screen use should be limited to no more than one hour per day. Turn­ing off these de­vices and pro­mot­ing read­ing lim­its kids’ ex­po­sure to dig­i­tal me­dia while pro­vid­ing a per­fect op­por­tu­nity to read.

• Set an ex­am­ple. Chil­dren mimic their par­ents’ be­hav­ior. Kids who see their par­ents read­ing books, mag­a­zines and newspapers may be more likely to em­brace read­ing than young­sters who do not see their par­ents read­ing.

• Read as a fam­ily. The C.S. Mott Chil­dren’s Hos­pi­tal notes that read­ing to­gether with chil­dren is a won­der­ful way for par­ents to fos­ter a lan­guage-rich en­vi­ron­ment in their fam­i­lies. Read­ing can open lines of com­mu­ni­ca­tion be­tween par­ents and chil­dren, pro­vid­ing a chance for them to dis­cuss books and their themes.

• Visit the li­brary. A trip to the li­brary can help chil­dren dis­cover books that align with their in­ter­ests. Such books may serve as a cat­a­lyst for a love of read­ing in young­sters.

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