Lets Turn to Books!

Posted: 8th January 2024

Mrs Claire Fildes, Headmistress of Eaton House The Manor Girls’ School

Categories: All Schools

‘Young people who are engaged with literacy are three times more likely to have higher levels of mental wellbeing – 27.6% more’

Reading provides enjoyment for children as they enter new worlds, experience new cultures and new dimensions, but also provides children with opportunities to gain knowledge, develop the skills of empathy, tolerance, and an understanding of the wider world. They can develop the ability to step into someone else’s shoes and see life from different perspectives.

The early years of a child’s life are crucial for language development, and reading plays a vital role in enhancing key language skills. Reading is more than just scanning words on a page. It requires the ability to decode, retrieve and infer, whilst developing both imagination and critical thinking. When a child reads, they encounter a wide range of words and sentence structures, but are also exposed to and absorb the nuances of language. As children become more proficient readers, they analyse and dissect a plot, make predictions about characters’ motivations and their cognitive abilities are developed. The process of reading helps to develop children’s’ vocabulary and refine their comprehension skills, laying a strong foundation for academic success and lifelong learning.

Reading also enhances concentration and the ability to engage with a text helps children to develop compassion and emotional intelligence, as they learn to identify and understand a range of different feelings. This then helps how they cope with and navigate their own lives.

In a world where mental health problems in children are continuing to rise, the act of immersing oneself in a story can help to reduce stress levels and promote relaxation. The National Literacy Trust’s research found that children and young people who are engaged with literacy are three times more likely to have higher levels of mental wellbeing than children who are the least engaged (39.4% vs 11.8%).

Reading with your child and to your child can bring so much pleasure. The shared reading experience can help to develop a bond between you and a strong emotional connection through quality one-on-one time.

In a fast-paced world of technology and a life full of distractions, nurturing a love for reading stimulates the brain, cultivates imagination, develops language skills, enhances cognitive skills, aids mental wellbeing and is the key to lifelong learning and success. In my opinion, a win-win!


This feature first appeared in Life Magazines, October 2023