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10 Reasons Why Reading Is Essential For Children

Updated: Jul 22, 2023

A happy, young girl reading a red book with her teddy

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Reading is an essential skill for children to develop as, not only does it open up a world of knowledge, but it helps them to learn important life skills such as problem-solving and creativity. It can also improve their self-confidence and be highly beneficial for their mental health.

Here are 10 reasons why reading is essential for children.

1) Improves knowledge, understanding and academic performance

Reading both fiction and non-fiction can help children to have a better understanding of different people, cultures and the world around them.

By developing their concentration and critical thinking skills, as well as their vocabulary and writing ability, reading will promote a general love of learning and enhance academic performance.

Brother and sister concentrating on their reading and writing

2) Improves focus and concentration

Research has shown that reading can help kids to become more focused and attentive. This allows them to stay on task for longer periods of time which can be beneficial in both schoolwork and everyday life activities such as sports or hobbies.

Three boys pointing wands at a pretend potion

3) Develops imagination and creativity

Books provide kids with an opportunity to explore their imaginations through stories, characters, and settings that they may not otherwise encounter in real life. This can help them to develop problem-solving skills and empathy and encourage an interest in imaginative play, drama, the theatre and creative writing.

Two children reading a book together in a cosy corner with cushions

4) Reduces stress and improves mental health

Whether it's fiction or non-fiction, reading is a form of relaxation and studies have shown that it can reduce stress and create feelings of well-being in both adults and children.

Parents can encourage this by giving children the opportunity to cosy up on a chair or beanbag with a blanket, snack or drink and spend a few minutes either reading silently or reading aloud to you, their siblings or their pet etc.

5) Builds vocabulary

As kids progress through books of increasing difficulty levels, they are exposed to a vast array of new words which can help them to expand their vocabularies. This will help them to communicate more effectively, both verbally and in written tasks, which will help them with their school work and in all areas of life.

A family of two adult and two children sat reading and discussing a book together

6) Strengthens memory retention and recall

When we read, we engage our brains in a complex cognitive process that involves visual processing, comprehension, and memory retrieval. Reading regularly will enable our brains to make stronger connections between neurons, which can enhance our ability to remember and recall information.

If children have the chance to discuss the plots and characters of stories with their family, friends and teachers, it will help strengthen their memory, which is especially important for younger readers who are still developing their cognitive abilities.

7) Encourages critical thinking

When children read a book, they are presented with opportunities to question and think critically about the material they’ve encountered. Primary schools, in particular, encourage younger readers to discuss what they have read in order to ensure that they have understood the story but, also, to encourage them to form opinions on different topics.

8) Develops empathy and understanding of different perspectives

Stories can introduce children to a wide variety of characters whose backgrounds and experiences are different to their own.

This is particularly relevant for non-fiction texts, and several authors have written stories about inspirational people for children of all ages.

One of my favourites is the "Little People, Big Dreams" Treasury which contains 50 stories about people such as Emmeline Pankhurst, Amelia Earhart, Rosa Parks, David Attenborough and Martin Luther King, Jr.

Reading about different people and their backgrounds, experiences and viewpoints can be inspirational and help children to become more understanding of others and develop their capacity for empathy.

A young, red haired girl writing at a desk

9) Improves writing skills

By reading a variety of texts, children will learn new vocabulary, improve their spelling skills, notice how the author has used paragraphs and literary techniques and how they have created settings and characters.

Over time, this will help them to develop a greater understanding of how to apply these techniques in their own writing.

10) Increases confidence and self-esteem

As individuals learn new things through reading, they gain a deeper understanding of themselves and their world. This can lead to increased self-awareness, a sense of empowerment and improved self-confidence. Additionally, reading can help individuals broaden their vocabulary and develop better communication skills, which can also contribute to increased self-confidence.

A father reading a book to his baby

It's clear to see that reading offers a wide array of benefits for young readers that make it an important part of any child’s development. From improving literacy skills and vocabulary, to promoting empathy and encouraging creativity, reading is an invaluable tool for young people.

Two males reading books in a library

Parents who encourage children to read at an early age can help them to discover a whole new world of knowledge and opportunity and, with the right guidance, kids can become lifelong readers who will reap the rewards of a well-developed mind.

Private Tutor and Founder of English Home Studies

About the Author

I’m a private tutor, a former qualified and experienced secondary school English Teacher and the founder of English Home Studies. In addition to offering 1:1 tuition sessions for students from 9 - 16 years old (Year 5 - Year 11), I create digital and printable revision guides and activity packs.

I often post advice and links to free and affordable English resources on the English Home Studies Facebook and Instagram pages but, if you have a child in KS3 or KS4, you might like to join one of my Facebook groups:

If you would like to find out more about my qualifications and experience, read some of the lovely reviews I've received from previous clients or have any questions, please have a look around my website or send me a message. Many thanks.


 English Home Studies logo of an adult sat at a desk next to a child, helping them with their studies.
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