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What is reading?

The act of reading is variable, not absolute, however in simple terms reading is to understand the meaning of written or printed information. It is achieved by looking at a series of symbols and creating meaning from them.

When we read, we use our eyes to receive letters, punctuation marks and spaces and we use our brain to convert them into words, sentences and paragraphs that communicate something to us.

Reading involves the process of word recognition, spelling, alphabetics, phonics, phonemic awareness, vocabulary, comprehension, fluency, and motivation.

  • Word recognition is to identify the words in print

  • Spelling is the manner in which words are spelled, also known as orthography

  • Alphabetics is the science dealing with the representation of spoken sounds by means of letters

  • Phonics involves matching the spoken sounds with individual letters or groups of letters

  • Phonemic awareness refers to the specific ability to focus on and manipulate individual sounds (phonemes) in spoken words

  • Vocabulary, also known as a wordstock or word-stock, is a set of familiar words within a person's language

  • Comprehension is to construct an understanding of the words

  • Fluency is to coordinate identifying words that create meaning so that reading is accurate and automatic

  • Motivation is to develop and maintain the desire to read

When you read something such as a book or article , you look at and understand the words that are written there.

What are the top 10 benefits of reading?

Research shows that regular reading:

  • Aids sleep preparedness
  • Helps you to empathise with other people
  • Fights symptoms of depression
  • Improves brain connectivity
  • Increases your vocabulary, comprehension and grammar
  • Lowers blood pressure and heart rate
  • Prevents cognitive decline as you age
  • Reduces stress.
  • Increase your overall intelligence
  • Improves writing skills

Also, reading can make you more empathetic. Losing yourself in a good read can make it easier for you to relate to others. Literary fiction, specifically, has the power to help its readers understand what others are thinking by reading other people’s emotions.

Why is reading important?

Reading is an essential part of literacy and one of the four core language skills, alongside writing, listening, and speaking.

Reading is important because it develops the mind. Understanding the written word is one way the mind grows in its ability. Teaching young children to read helps them develop their language skills. It also helps them learn to listen.

Just by looking at books with your child and talking about them, you can be a great storyteller and a good model for using language and books. Your child will learn by watching you hold a book the right way and seeing how you move through the book by gently turning the pages.

Reading stories with children has benefits for grown-ups too. The special time you spend reading together promotes bonding and helps to build your relationship with your child.

The importance of reading cannot be underestimated. It allows us to be transported from our own world to another. Between the pages of a book, we can become immersed in the lives of fictional characters and learn about a culture entirely different from our own.

Best of all, reading is free entertainment! Books are pricey, but you do not have to buy them. There are libraries where books cost nothing and second-hand books stores where they cost next to nothing, in addition to online resources where you can download free e-books.

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