In this post, I will share a list of reasons why children might want to read books. When given kids' many choices, what makes reading books all that important--especially when the young readers already know how to read, and they don't actually need the practice?
My list is not complete, and I invite you, my audience, to add additional reasons in the comments section at the end of this post. I will feature them next time.
And so, without further discussion, here are ten reasons for kids to read books:
1. You can become someone else. This is not limited to a real person. It might be an animal or a two-headed alien from outer space. You may find that you have powers or abilities that the real you lacks. Let yourself imagine that you are the one in the story doing amazing things. The trick is to "get into it", and allow yourself to experience what the main character is doing in the story.
2. You can go someplace else, and it can be a free ride. This could be a favorite place where you have been or it can be a trip to the moon and back. Just identify with the character in your book, and you can go right along with him/her.
3. You can go to some other time, even moving backwards and forwards--to the past or the future. Books can be your very own time-travel machine.
4. You can decide how things should look in a book. Reader are given permission to use the words in a story to create their own mental images. Think about this; anyone who has seen Disney's Peter Pan is forever tied to Disney's images of the story, but if readers have never seen the movie, they are allowed to create the pictures for themselves. What creative power!
5. You can explore new ideas. For example; what if we could travel at the speed of light? What would animals say if they could speak to us? What if we could trade places with one of our parents for a day? What if we could control the weather?
6. You can learn how to use words in new ways. You might learn some phrases from other languages, or how to compare unlike things to each other. You might learn to create new ginormous words by combining two existing ones (like giant and enormous?).
7. Books can provide inexpensive or free excitement. If you really let yourself get into the plot of a book, the climax sometimes feels like the huge, steep hill on a roller coaster. Your heart pounds, and you can't put the book down until you get past the nerve-wracking part. That thrill is even free when the books are borrowed from libraries or friends.
8. Books are exercise for your brain. There's a lot being said in today's world about the need to exercise our bodies, but brains need exercise too. When we read, we constantly anticipate what will happen in the story. This kind of prediction works like a filter of our memory and previous knowledge when we try to figure out a book's plot. That mental exercise helps to keep our brains sharp and strong.
9. You can use books to escape from the here and now. No one has to be bored when they can get into the excitement of a good book. Just let it carry you into the middle of something more interesting than whatever is not happening in real life. Books can change your mood.
10. Books can inspire you to do things you never knew you wanted to try. They allow you to dabble in experiences without risk of failure, and try something new.