7 (additional) Benefits of Books for Children

Feb 28, 2013 by     No Comments    Posted under: Early Literacy

We frequently hear about the importance of reading aloud to children in terms of learning to read, and we know that reading is an essential skill for success. One of the greatest gifts a parent can give is to teach their child how to use a book. Once this foundation has been laid, the other opportunities for emotional, social, and intellectual benefits unfold. These are 7 additional benefits of books for children.10 Minutes Till Bedtime

1. Books help children feel safe and secure.  Preschoolers are looking to make connections with characters in texts that are ‘just like them’ and follow the same kinds of daily routines.  They will particularly benefit from books that include familiar themes and experiences.

Suggested books: 10 minutes till Bedtime by Peggy Rathman; Would They Love a Lion? by Kady MacDonald Denton; I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato by Lauren Child

2.Books can remind children they belong to a group or family. Children who are secure still experience the need to belong. They look to find themselves included in family, school, neighborhood, and peer groups. This also affirms the universality of their need and helps them know others have similar needs.

Suggested books: The Keeping Quilt by Patricia Polacco; Will I Have a Friend? By Miriam Cohen; For You Are a Kenyan Child by Kelly Cunnane

3. Books can help children learn about love and loving themselves. Children can see the significance of their own experience reflected in stories about families who love each other. Books about love encourage conversations about how love is shared, and deepen an understanding of how to love others.

Suggested Books: Love You Forever by Robert Munsch; “More More More,” Said the Baby by Vera Williams; Me and You by Genevieve Cote

Harlem's Little Blackbird

4. Books can help children discover heroes and introduce achievements. The first hero in a child’s life is his mother or father. But books about other characters that struggle and face difficulties but rise to the challenge can present new examples and circumstances from which the child can learn.

Suggested Books: Harlem’s Little Blackbird by Renee Watson; The Greatest Power by Demi; If You Spent a Day with Thoreau at Walden Pond by Robert Burleigh

5. Books can foster children’s particular interests. Children often choose a particular topic or theme as their favorite and become engrossed in everything about that topic. For example, young boys often love cars and trucks and want to know about the different makes of vehicles, mechanisms that cause them to work. Books can provide that wealth of information, and begin a lifelong love of learning and delving deep into topics that matter.

Suggested Books: Brontornia by James Howe; Five Trucks by Brian Floca; Beetle Bop by Denise Fleming

6. Books can be a mental break for fun! Children love to laugh, sing, and play games, and there are LOTS of books that encourage the reader to do just that. Books offer a break from the more difficult tasks that preschoolers are challenged to complete—to master the skill of tying a shoe, or using a spoon to eat soup.

Suggested books: Not a Box by Antoinette Portis; Charlie Parker Played Be Bop by Chris Raskchka; What Can You Do with a Shoe? By Bruce DegenThe Lion and the Mouse

7. Books can be examples of beautiful art and excellent writing. Children appreciate good writing and fine art as much as adults. Exposing children to well written and beautifully illustrated books early on prepares them for later enjoyment of the masters, such as Shakespeare and Monet.

Suggested Books: The Lion and the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney; Grandpa Green by Lane Smith; Zen Shorts by Jon J Muth

May Hill Arbuthnot, an educator and advocate of children’s literature summarized the benefits of books this way:

Books are no substitute for living, but they can add immeasurably to its richness. When life is absorbing, books can enhance our sense of its significance. When life is difficult, they can give us momentary release from trouble or a new insight into our problems, or provide the rest and refreshment we need. Books have always been a source of information, comfort, and pleasure for the people who know how to use them. This is just as true for children as adults. Indeed, it is particularly true for children.


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