Our children and students are struggling. The pandemic has not been easy for anyone, let alone our children and students. We long for the old normal – meeting with friends, gathering at ball games, eating at restaurants. However, we don’t know when or if that “old normal” will return. This is why I suggest reading during the pandemic. And yes, I know it is much easier and more enjoyable – for some – to just turn on the TV and watch something. However, I would like to show you why I think it is critical for our children and students to READ, especially during the pandemic.
- Improved Vocabulary
Children and students are exposed to new words, thus increasing their vocabulary. If they don’t know a word, then they must use context clues or a dictionary to find out what it means. They must learn and THINK, not just watch and absorb.
- Reading Comprehension
The more you practice, the better you become. Just like practicing in sports, you have to put in time and effort to improve your skills. The same is true in reading. If you struggle (and if you struggle, you don’t like to do that skill – we all know that we don’t like doing things that are difficult for us personally). However, how many times have we had to do something we don’t like? A lot. The key is to keep trying and persisting, then you will see improvement. As a teacher, reading comprehension is a major struggle for some students. This is why I think it is so critical to READ, even if they do not initially enjoy it. Read something that INTERESTS them. It could be a book about sports or a young adult novel or even a graphic novel. Read to improve the skill, because reading is necessary for life (and having fine-tuned the skill will help in many areas of life).
- Empathy for Others
Books teach us about others. About different cultures and experiences that we may have never personally experienced. Books teach us how people feel in certain situations. With social distancing and isolation, students need to know how to empathize with others from different backgrounds. This is teaching our students how to learn to not only empathize, but how to work together with someone that may have a very different background or culture than them.
- Escape/Creative Thinking
We have all sat down and watched hours of Netflix or movies to escape from the chaos of our lives. The reason I recommend reading instead of watching something is that reading helps students with creativity. The escape of life can be found in reading and watching, but the creativity lies in the reading. Students have to create images of characters and settings merely by the author’s descriptions. Students create within the author’s description how a character’s voice sounds or the sound of the setting. Creativity is a lost art that needs to be found by the next generation.
- Academic Success
Students that read more are going to perform better in the academic setting. The better a student can read, the easier school will be for them. Much of testing is foundationally built on whether students can read and understand what the question or prompt is asking.
Practical ways to incorporate reading into your student’s busy life:
- Read 10-15 minutes a day (something other than social media posts). Start with a short time set aside to read. Don’t let it be at a time that distractions are prevalent.
- Read as a family (this can be a great experience and bonding time).
- Read something that interests them! This could be a sports article, graphic novel, anything that will start to spark the interest to read.