Teaching children the importance of books is not an easy task in this day and age. There are even parents who sometimes don't try, either because it's not in their best interest or because they consider it little or no fun. Whatever the case, there is no doubt that reading is essential for children. Besides exercising the brain, developing language and writing skills, memory and comprehension, children learn empathy and develop their personality more easily.

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Some benefits of reading at an early age

Like everything good in life, reading brings multiple benefits, the results of which are enhanced if it is encouraged from early childhood. This is why it is very important to introduce them to books at an early age, whether they can read or not.

The importance of instilling the habit of reading at an early age lies in the fact that it stimulates the development of a child's mental and intellectual capacities, improves memory, develops language and stimulates imagination and creativity like no other activity.

In addition, reading helps children learn about the outside world, improve their academic performance and cognitive abilities; they learn about themselves and their subjectivity through the empathy and connection that reading provokes through the experiences of characters.

The importance of books at an early age

There is no doubt that the habit of reading is essential for the integral development of our children. Teaching them to interact with books, to tell them stories, to read aloud, to explore their shapes, colors and images, even if they cannot yet recognize letters, is very important for them in the short and long term.

In addition to helping them in their future written communication and in learning new knowledge, reading is an important tool for building children's identity and facilitating their intellectual, imaginary and, of course, linguistic development, a skill that will help them express their ideas and facilitate learning other areas of knowledge through reading comprehension.  

In this sense, it is very important that in the home, as the first place of education, the habit of reading is encouraged in children, and not only for learning or knowledge, but also for entertainment. This is where children's literature plays a fundamental role, as it is the most appropriate way for children to find pleasure in reading and learn without getting bored.

Although it is not easy, in these times, to inculcate reading in children, the playful approach can facilitate this task and help children not to consider the act of reading as a task or an obligation. Therefore, from a very young age, the first contact with reading should be through children's literature.

Tips for encouraging children to read

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Daily contact with books and reading stories awakens in children the desire and motivation to read. Reading is a habit and, as such, it must be cultivated. Here are some tips that can help you achieve this goal.

Make sure that the first contact with reading is through reading aloud children's stories.

● Do not force children to read, so that they do not assume the process as an obligation. The approach to the book should be more natural.

● Read it yourself. If children see you reading every day, they will be curious and approach books on their own. Remember, children learn by imitation.

● Switch from traditional gifts (such as video games, wagon tracks or remote control cars) at Christmas or birthdays to a book as a gift.

● Reading children's stories creates a special bond between children and parents, a relationship that is very helpful for children's learning. So take 10 to 15 minutes before bed to read children's stories.

● Today, the influence of technology on our daily lives is undeniable. It's no secret that children are interacting with cell phones and other technological devices from an early age. You can take advantage of this condition and use new technologies to encourage the reading habit in children. For example, you can use digital books, audiobooks, e-book readers, apps or interactive cell phone games.

● Try to find out what types of books or readings you enjoy the most, so you can pay more attention to them and reinforce those tastes.   

Children's reading habits are fundamental to the development of many skills that will help them for the rest of their lives. Teaching them these skills before school is a life-changing decision for your children. This is why books are so important in childhood and why parents should support and encourage them to cultivate a love of reading.