Why Reading More Books Gives Kids an Edge in School

how reading is important

Reading is one of the most important activities a young person can do. It helps them learn and understand new information, and it also helps improve their vocabulary and writing skills.

But did you know reading can also help strengthen your middle schooler’s performance in school (and life)?

In a recent Pew Research Center poll, a sample of adults selected what they thought was the most essential skill for students “to get ahead in the world today.” Overwhelmingly, respondents answered with “communication skills.”

But before a child can learn to communicate (listen, practice empathy, manage emotions, and share), they need the language to do so.

Kids who read 20 minutes a day are exposed to almost 2 million more words yearly. 2 million!

How important is reading, and what are ten ways recreational reading gives middle schoolers a leg up on schoolwork, tests, and communication skills?

10 Ways Reading More at Home Gives Middle Schoolers a Leg Up on Schoolwork and Tests

Reading Increases Vocabulary and Fluency

A greater understanding of words and language can significantly improve a student’s comprehension of classroom materials.

Studies show that well-read 7th graders typically know up to 10,000 more words than their non-reader peers! In 8th grade, that figure bumps up to 12,000 words.

By the 12th grade, that figure reaches 20,000 words.

Seniors who read for pleasure know roughly 20,000 more words than their non-reader peers.

Why does having a broad vocabulary matter? Because it enables individuals to communicate their ideas and thoughts better. It can help adolescents understand complex texts and develop higher-level critical thinking skills too.

For more on vocabulary, see one of my favorite vocabulary reference books, 100 Words Every High School Freshman Should Know

Develops Problem-Solving Skills

Students can practice problem-solving techniques by engaging with complex stories to help them work through other academic tasks more efficiently.

Problem-solving helps us all identify challenges and develop creative solutions for many situations. Additionally, it develops skills such as collaboration, communication, and analysis, which are beneficial in academic, professional, and personal settings.

Example: Through a character’s choices and interactions, readers can explore each action’s consequences and develop strategies to approach similar scenarios in their own lives. This allows a reader to gain valuable insight into problem-solving, from identifying an issue to finding possible solutions.

how reading is important

Develops Analytical Thinking

Through reading, adolescents consider characters, plot lines, and concepts, which helps them generate an analytical approach when working on academic tasks.

Analytical thinking is essential for students because it helps them think critically and solve problems. It trains them to break down complicated topics into manageable components, enabling them to identify causes, relationships, and trends. It also encourages curiosity and the ability to evaluate facts objectively.

You might like Why Recreational Reading Is Important & How to Get Your Tween to Do It.

Enhances Memory Retention

Studies show that readers have better memories than non-readers as reading helps exercise the brain’s memory retention capabilities.

Reading helps strengthen memory retention by increasing the information we store in our short-term memory. When we read, we take in language and images that aid us in understanding the meaning behind what we are reading. Decoding increases the amount of information stored in our short-term memory, making it easier to remember what we read.

Reading also aids memorization by creating mental connections between concepts and ideas. By connecting concepts and ideas as they appear in texts, readers create a stronger memory trace that they can easily recall later.

Additionally, rereading material reinforces these connections, improving recall ability even further.

Improves Logical Reasoning

By engaging with complex storylines and analyzing multiple perspectives and arguments, readers can practice their logical reasoning skills, which is beneficial for school work.

Logical reasoning involves evaluating evidence, drawing conclusions, and making informed decisions. Through this process, students can understand topics more deeply, forming solid arguments based on facts and sound logic rather than baseless assumptions or opinions.

These skills help with test-taking ability as well. While having a growth mindset during the tween and teen years is more important, they still have to learn to take tests.

reading more gives kids an edge in school

Increases Creativity and Imagination

Reading opens the door to creative thinking by stimulating the reader’s imagination and providing new ideas on approaching problems or tasks differently.

Reading encourages adolescents to think outside the box and consider how different interpretations and approaches to topics can lead to a greater understanding of the material.

When kids read, it exposes them to new words, ideas, and questions. Thinking critically about interpreting different texts is essential to developing reading comprehension skills.

Improves Focus and Concentration

Focusing on and comprehending long blocks of text requires focus and concentration, which are excellent skills for doing well on schoolwork or exams.

When adolescents read something interesting or engaging, their minds become more alert and focused on what they’re doing, which helps them stay engaged longer. Furthermore, when our middle schoolers read something challenging, their brains must work harder to comprehend the content; this strengthens their understanding of how different concepts are related.

As a result, reading increases your middle schooler’s attention span. It enhances their ability to think critically about different topics, which is crucial for successful academic performance in math or science, where problem-solving is a vital component of the learning process.

You might also like Want Your Child to Read More? Act Now With These 15 Tips.

how reading is important

Enhances Knowledge Base

Novels often explore themes such as history, science, or politics, allowing adolescents to expand their knowledge beyond what they learn in school; this also promotes critical thinking about challenging topics their classes may address in discussions or exams.

Books offer insights into other cultures and ways of life that can broaden one’s perspective and outlook on the world. Readers can gain a deeper understanding of various topics from an informed viewpoint through books.

Strengthens Writing Skills

As readers become immersed in stories, they can understand how authors form sentences, construct paragraphs, fit descriptions into the overall narrative, etc., all of which are valuable tools for writing assignments that require extended essay writing or detailed reports on specific subjects/topics/questions.

3 Ways Reading Improves Writing Skills:

  1. Research shows that students who read for pleasure have higher scores on grammar, spelling, and general writing ability tests than those who do not read regularly.
  2. Even brief exposure to books can improve sentence structure and complex vocabulary usage in writing tasks.
  3. Reading also encourages the development of new ideas and connections between concepts, which can serve as a basis for creative writing projects.

You might also like Give Me 5 Minutes, and I’ll Tell You How to Improve Your Tween’s Writing.

how reading gives kids an edge in school

Reduces Stress Levels When Studying For Exams

Reading has proven effective in reducing stress levels when studying for exams. It provides an escape from many daily stresses allowing readers to relax while still engaging with content related to their studies that could be helpful during exams or tests.

How is reading important in life?

Reading is an essential part of life that can significantly impact personal development.

Here are two reasons why reading is important:

Reading helps develop your imagination, which kids can apply to other aspects of life, such as problem-solving and creativity. When reading, your brain forms mental images based on the words and ideas within the material, allowing you to conceptualize complex topics better or visualize faraway places.

Reading also exposes you to various perspectives and opinions, allowing you to become more open-minded and better able to empathize with others regardless of their backgrounds and experiences.

Additionally, learning new things through books encourages continued growth and challenges readers to think critically about their beliefs and the world around them. 

Reading is an invaluable tool that can help middle schoolers reach their full potential in the classroom and beyond. It provides a much-needed escape from everyday stresses, encourages imaginative thinking, expands knowledge bases, strengthens writing skills, and reduces stress levels when studying for exams.

By reading more books regularly as part of your child’s educational routine or recreational activity list, you’re giving them a leg up on how to succeed academically and socially.

How will you incorporate more reading into your family time?

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