We, at E.R.E., know the values of reading. For us, reading is essential because it provides the necessary knowledge and skills for our staff to strengthen their approach. For example, we spend time reading research papers and articles to learn, create, and improve our curriculum, aiming to give our students the highest quality instruction and close achievement gaps. As a team of lifelong learners and role models for our students, the E.R.E. staff makes reading an active part of our lives.
Values of Reading
Books are a treasure chest of knowledge. A great book will nurture your dreams and soul, allowing you to immerse yourself in a different world and expand your imagination. Indeed, reading books daily is one of the most profitable “investments” in a person’s life. There are many values of reading, but here are our top three.
- Reading helps expand vocabulary and knowledge
The more you read, the more new words you will discover. As you start to accumulate an understanding of a larger number of words, you will feel more confident and comfortable expressing yourself. For instance, you can use your vocabulary to state your opinion clearly in discussions and in written text. Improving your communication abilities can also help you quickly gain someone’s trust, win a significant contract for your company, and be confident at a public speaking conference.
Books also provide knowledge about all aspects of life. Reading is a great opportunity to explore the world, as you can discover new information in every book. Whether you’re into classical literature, biographies, self-help guides, or romance novels – there’s always something to be excited about learning from a book. As an added bonus, you can then share the knowledge you gain with others.
Reading expands your vocabulary and knowledge, helping you to effectively communicate and interact with the world around you.
- Reading improves concentration and critical thinking skills
Do you find it challenging to concentrate for a long period of time? In the era of technology and social media, you may be distracted by many things right at your fingertips, making it difficult to focus. Take a break from your phone and try reading a book! Reading is a great way to improve your concentration because, when you read a book, you immerse yourself in the world of that book. Everything around you tends to fade away. Your whole mind and senses focus on the characters, storyline, and main ideas. Thus, reading is a fun way to train your mind to concentrate better. Once you form the habit of reading, you will likely notice that your ability to concentrate has significantly improved.
Reading also helps to develop learning skills, such as critical thinking. Have you ever read a detective novel and solved the mystery yourself before you even finished the story? This is because you applied critical and analytical thinking as you read. You actually use these skills while reading all genres as you analyze the plot, learn about the characters, follow the timeline of events, and even assess the quality of writing. You also tend to ask yourself questions as you read: Why did that happen? Why is the character acting like that? What will happen next? These questions spark our curiosity, opening us up to explore, analyze, and search for answers. Moreover, reading books helps you learn from people’s experiences. Indeed, studying others’ problems and solutions can shed light on your own issues, helping you to address them with more certainty.
The concentration and critical thinking skills you gain from reading can also assist you in real life. For instance, employers prefer staff who can concentrate on the tasks at hand and they value critical thinkers who can devise new ideas to help their businesses stay competitive.
- Reading allows you better understand yourself and others
Books help you open your mind and increase your understanding of yourself and the world around you. Through books, you can discover more about your culture, beliefs, and identity. Perhaps, sometimes you wonder about your origin, who you really are, and what your place in the world is. You may feel lost, not knowing how your identity contributes to the community you are living in. However, reading a book like Expand Your Borders: Discover Ten Cultural Clusters, by David Livermore will help you understand cultural similarities and differences around the world. As you better understand your identity, you will gain more confidence to be yourself and interact with those different from you. More importantly, books teach you to love yourself and cultivate your true being. For example, the book I Can Do It: How to Use Affirmations to Change Your Life, by Louise L. Hay guides you to focus on your attitude and use the power of self-affirmation to overcome difficulties, heal your wounds, and move forward in life. You may face many difficulties and failures in life, but reading a book like this may help find ways to change your trajectory.
You can also learn about the person who wrote the book by assessing their writing techniques, such as ideas, word choice, style, tone, and content. An analysis of these key facets can reveal things about the author, like biases or experiences different from your own. Similarly, examining the characters in books (determining the motivations for the behaviors, for instance), can give you a better grasp of human emotions and actions. Understanding others helps you to empathize with them, which creates a more compassionate society.
Learning to read is one of the most important skills for youth to master during their first years of school. Unfortunately, many children have fallen behind in reading milestones. The article “It’s ‘Alarming’: Children Are Severely Behind in Reading” quotes the Director of the Speech and Language Literacy Lab as stating, “Students at some high-poverty schools have been identified as at high risk for reading problems — twice the number of students as before the pandemic.”
A lack of quality educators, outdated curriculum materials, and the sudden implementation of remote learning during the pandemic has affected children of every demographic – but Black and Hispanic children, as well as those from low-income families, those with disabilities, and those who are not fluent in English, have fallen the furthest behind, according to the New York Times. Here are some explanations for this alarming trend:
- Parents who work multiple jobs do not have as much time to assist with their children’s reading.
- Kids may lack access to books at the correct reading level.
- Students have not learned reading comprehension skills.
It is necessary that we understand these challenges so that we can properly solve them.
Educate. Radiate. Elevate. is committed to equitable access to a high-quality education. Thus, our programs strive to overcome the obstacles to access and support that are faced by many low-income students of color. Our program leaders partner with other providers to ensure students have access to necessary learning resources, such as books at the appropriate reading level and one-on-one learning support. Our tutors are dedicated to teaching academic skills, like reading comprehension, as well as the underlying learning and life skills necessary for success in the classroom and beyond. We, at E.R.E., know the many values of reading. We are huge advocates for reading and encourage all of our students to read for fun due to the multitude of benefits that result.
For parents who know the values of reading and want to help their children read more, we suggest the following tips:
- Let your kids pick the books they are interested in. If they are unsure of which genres they like, have them first reflect on the types of movies and TV shows they enjoy.
- Find books appropriate for their reading level and even slightly above it to challenge them.
- Encourage them to avoid distractions when reading. For instance, they can read in a quiet room without access to technology.
- Try to spend at least 30 minutes each day reading a book aloud with your child. Right before bedtime is an ideal opportunity for this.
- Encourage your kids to ask questions about the story they are reading. Discussing books together provides an opportunity for bonding and memory-making.
- Teach your children how to find the main ideas of the book and explain them to you.
- Discuss new words they encounter while reading and try to incorporate them in your daily life.
Together, we can make a difference! We hope to provide our youth with the tools to grow into successful contributing members of society. If our mission connects with your beliefs and values, donate today to support students in need.