Good360 x Booktopia: The Importance of Reading on the Development of Children

There is no doubt that habits and activities children partake in growing up, impact their development and wellbeing. One of the most important activities that a child can do is reading, whether they are being read to by a parent or if they are reading on their own. Good360 and Booktopia are proud to have a long standing partnership to provide books to children in disadvantaged communities across Australia, because we believe in the benefits that reading has on a child’s wellbeing and learning outcomes:

Reading increases bonding between adults and children

The best way to introduce a child to reading is by early book sharing, which has proven to be important for later language and literacy. Not only is it a shared activity that can facilitate bonding between adults and children, but a child’s attention to books joined by a parental figure can enhance their vocabulary and social development. By creating a positive learning environment, adults can encourage children to engage with the material being read to them and can facilitate an open mode of communication with exploration of new ideas. Adults are able to respond to questions or statements a child may have, and can help them understand concepts being discovered.

Reading helps with lifelong learning

Reading can help children with assisted cognitive development. Children who read are exposed to a deep understanding about their world and fill their brains with background knowledge. It also helps build knowledge of sound within a language, as children recognise how to build flexible and detailed knowledge of sound units, as well as how they combine, which is important for later literacy. Interestingly these habits are formed early on in life, as reading the same three stories repeatedly and becoming familiar with the structure of the sentences and sounds can enhance a three-year-old child’s long-term memory of words. This also contributes to an extensive growth in vocabulary – a study found that children’s books have fifty-percent more ‘rare’ words in them than adult prime-time television, implying the fact that a growth in vocabulary stems more from reading material than oral conversation.

Reading helps to relax and improve your mood

Countless studies have shown that reading has the ability to relax your body and lower your heart rate, it’s often overlooked as a relaxation tool, as people may believe children need to exert effort to read. Reading gives children a chance to quiet their minds and stimulate creativity and imagination by transporting them to fictional worlds, while also getting them excited about learning new information.

A study on the stress-relieving power of reading has also found that reading reduced feelings of stress in adult participants by 68 per cent, a much better outcome than having a cup of tea, taking a walk, or even listening to music.

Children can learn how to understand “big feelings”

Whilst reading, children are able to step into the shoes of their characters, experiencing their lives and identifying with how they are feeling. Being able to attach words to feelings also helps children build a greater understanding of not only their own emotions, but those of others. This forms an ability to empathise with people they interact with in the real world and understand a breadth of experiences, forming a respect for those who are different to them. This ability to understand other people’s beliefs, desires, and thoughts, is called ‘theory of mind’. A 2013 study found that those who read fiction possess a stronger ‘theory of mind’ than those who do not.

Despite all these benefits that children who read may experience, children who lack access to reading materials, or an environment that encourages reading, may find themselves stinted not only in their ability to read, but also in communicating with the world around them. Children in low socioeconomic communities are the most vulnerable, with numerous studies finding that children from low socioeconomic backgrounds demonstrate lower proficiency in literacy. This lower proficiency is even more strongly present when the school they are attending is also of a lower socioeconomic status. Early literacy ability is a strong predictor of a child’s literacy performance throughout their school life, and with a lack of available resources that allow them to read as a method of learning as well as a form of leisure this can have implications on the child as they eventually enter the workforce.

Good360’s partnership with Booktopia is built on the belief that all children should have the same opportunities to become adept learners and empathetic individuals. Thanks to Booktopia, we are able to facilitate the distribution of books through our charity partners to children living in disadvantaged communities. Since beginning operations seven years ago, Good360 have matched over $640,000 worth of books to charities and schools across Australia. Donations such as these provide a massive impact to our charity partners, as they can focus their time develop their programs to secure material aid to service even more clients. Thank you to Booktopia for helping us #MakeGoodHappen.

If you are a member with Good360 interested in acquiring books for your local community, browse our wide range of books in stock here.

If you are a charity interested in becoming a member and receiving donated brand new goods for your services, view our membership options here.

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