There is an abundance of evidence that supports the benefits for children to read. The value of children’s literature goes far beyond pleasure and enjoyment, although these are extremely important factors as to why children should read. The enjoyment derived from reading stories promotes a “love of reading” in children. Doing something they enjoy is always a motivator for children to pursue such activities. It is important to allow and encourage children to read the fiction they want to read, as this promotes a “love of reading” (Gaiman, 2013, para. 10).
The value of children reading narratives / stories includes (not a definitive list):
Reading and listening to stories helps to improve comprehension in children from a young age. It improves comprehension with all texts. Reading stories helps children of all ages understand and retain complex concepts and information. Introducing new concepts and information to children in a story structure is easier for them to comprehend and recall. Regularly reading or listening to stories being read will improve the comprehension of a child in both areas (Haven, 2007, pp. 97-98).
Children reading stories and having stories read to them helps make sense and meaning of the world they live in. This includes the society they are part of, self-identity and relationships. Reading stories is easier for children to understand and retain complex concepts, societal and cultural values, attitudes, beliefs and information (Haven, 2007, pp. 105-106). The meaning that is created for children through reading stories can promote a sense of belonging and community. Shared stories create shared experiences and shared understandings which can be discussed amongst children and teachers, creating a sense of belonging (Haven, 2007, p. 113).
Improved literacy and language skills
From extensive research it is well established that reading improves literacy and language skills. The research highlights the importance of reading stories to children from a young age as this facilitates improved language skills and gives them a developed sense of story structure. This in turn will facilitate improved literacy skills (Haven, 2007, p. 114).
Gaiman, N. (2013, October 16). Why our future depends on libraries, reading and daydreaming. The Guardian. Retrieved from http://www.theguardian.com/books/2013/oct/15/neil-gaiman-future-libraries-reading-daydreaming
Haven, K. (2007). Story proof: The science behind the startling power of story. Retrieved from EBook Library.