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THE VALUE OF READING FOR ELEMENTARY SCHOOL CHILDREN

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According to the Center of Public Education, “Reading is the ‘open sesame’ for acquiring knowledge: learn to read, and you can read to learn just about anything”. Reading should be inculcated right from pre-school learning, as this helps children acquire vocabulary and preliminary knowledge. Immediately after they enter a public school, children are expected to use their reading skills to acquire knowledge about diverse subject matters. Hence, reading is a valuable asset for elementary school children, as it moulds their educational performance and grants them a better understanding of the world.

The Importance of Reading as a Process
Reading can be a complex process, as it involves decoding contextual meanings, making word-based predictions, and asking the right questions. Good readers can identify sight words, utilise context clues to comprehend unfamiliar words or phrases, and leverage upon their background knowledge to make connections and bridge the gap between knowledge and learning. Teaching children to read can be difficult, as learning capacities depend on diverse interests, skill sets, and individual disposition.

Also, guardians and teachers who teach students to read, must take these factors into account and possess the ability to help children learn and enjoy texts pertaining to all subject areas. As per the National Academies Press, “Teachers of reading are called on to prepare students to interpret complex ideas, critically analyze arguments, synthesize information from multiple sources, and use reading to build their knowledge”. The ultimate takeaway is that children who are able to read fluently and comprehend texts based on context clues are generally more successful in school.

How Reading Influences Other Subject Areas
The ascendance of standards-based education in the best CBSE schools has heightened interest in students’ ability to read informational texts, which has made educators and guardians more aware of its importance. Reading and comprehension skills in math class have evolved into an area of particular concern. Teachers report that it is not uncommon for students who excel in math to complain about word problems – it is crucial that a student’s reading skills must support his/her grade-level math ability.

According to the Intercultural Development Research Association, “Reading and writing activities can help children analyze, interpret and communicate mathematical ideas. These are skills needed to evaluate sources of information and the validity of the information itself, a key competency for mathematically literate citizens”. At the elementary level, the ability to transfer knowledge and skills from one subject area to another builds a foundation of understanding and independence that aids young children as they mature and progress.

The Value of Independent Reading
The benefits of independent reading extend far beyond academic success. Well-read individuals are more likely to engage in eminent professional trades and attend prestigious college courses. According to a survey by The National School Board Association (NSBA), adults with poor reading skills are more likely to experience unemployment, and if employed, earn less than those capable of fluent reading. The NSBA also reports that adults with the lowest literacy skills are the least likely to engage their own children in activities that promote literacy development, such as reading stories to them or indulging in rhyming and vocabulary games.

Voluntary reading not only involves personal choice but also the ability to comprehend diverse subject matters in considerable detail. Individuals read to experience life in its entirety, earn a robust living, understand the nuances of worldly matters, and benefit from the accumulated knowledge of civilisation. Most importantly, the capacity to govern ourselves and evolve into better individuals depends heavily on reading.

Apart from the above benefits of reading for elementary kids, it boosts creativity and imagination, along with emotions of empathy in children. Hence, spend time with your child to help them master the challenges of reading and ensure a brighter future for your little one!

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