You may long for your child to learn to read because you want him to boost his intelligence and excel in school. While reading will help with that, it also builds emotional intelligence. This is now just as coveted as any other kind of intelligence, and reading to and with your children often will give them an edge.
Introduces Complex Relationships
Books give kids a way to live in a world they’ve never encountered and observe relationships they may not have been in before. Characters, plots, and conflict give kids a chance to see the complexities that come with being human and interacting with others. Reading can prepare kids for dealing with complex relationships and issues in their own lives. Whether it’s a book about a problem with a best friend or managing a two-household situation after parents divorce, books introduce difficult topics and human interactions and teach kids what they need to know when they go through similar situations in the real world.
A major part of childhood development is learning a language and acquiring new words. Reading expands a child’s vocabulary and teaches them to use context clues to understand what new words mean. Included in new vocabulary is the exploration of new feelings or ideas kids may not have had words for before. An expanded vocabulary also teaches kids words they shouldn’t use because they can be hurtful to others. For example, there are some things people should not say to disabled people, and it’s important to know those words as well as what to say. Books can introduce the complexities of vocabulary and teach kids the dos and don’ts of communication.
Along with emotional intelligence, reading books teaches empathy. Specifically, reading literature teaches kids to engage in the understanding of a fictitious character’s world and empathize with what they are experiencing. Few experiences in life let kids disappear into another world the way reading does, and it helps kids become more emotionally intelligent in the process. This is also true for adults, proving that reading should be a lifelong venture that helps us all grow emotionally throughout life.
Read to kids when they are small, teach them to read when they are ready, and foster a lifelong love of reading throughout life. Introducing kids to books from a young age and encouraging them to explore new characters and worlds will improve their emotional intelligence.