Education Matters

Why it's important for your child to read fiction books

Posted by Trinity Grammar School on Apr 23, 2018 6:00:00 AM

why it's important for your child to read fiction booksAccording to the Australian Research Council and Macquarie University’s report Reading the reader, how we read has changed dramatically as a result of the introduction of technology. With so many digital alternatives on the market, the consumption of the traditional paperback has seen a significant reduction.

People read for a variety of reasons including enjoyment, learning and health benefits. For the most part, reading books is a great way to relax and manage stress.

Many readers appreciate that you can get lost in a novel and be transported to another place or time. Reading fiction books is a uniquely powerful way to understand others, tap into creativity and exercise your brain.

Here are eight reasons why it’s important for your child to read fiction books: 

1. Provides a new perspective
Multiple studies have shown that reading fiction triggers our imagination, activating the area of our brains responsible for building empathy and seeing the world from a new perspective.

Through studies, psychologist Raymond Mar realised there is substantial overlap in the brain networks used to understand stories and the networks used to navigate interactions with other individuals. Oftentimes, when we are reading a story it almost feels just as if we were experiencing the story ourselves. 

2. Combats stress and aids better sleep
Reading fiction is a great way to combat stress. The New Yorker reports that, “Regular readers sleep better, have lower stress levels, higher self-esteem, and lower rates of depression than non-readers.”

3. Enhanced relationships
Using fiction to explore ideas of change, complex emotions and the unknown enables us to deal with interpersonal issues better, improving our relationships and preparing us to accept change more easily.

4. Prevents memory decline
Readers of fiction experience slower memory decline later in life compared to non-readers. In particular, people who read for pleasure later in life have a 32 percent lower rate of mental decline compared to non-readers. Further, they demonstrate less characteristics of Alzheimer’s disease. 


5. Opens your mind
There’s no doubt that books can open your mind. This great, short TED talk by Lisa Bu shows just how much:

6. Builds vocabulary 
Fiction broadens vocabulary, which helps us to communicate and express ourselves better. Communication skills are vital in today’s world, helping us to articulate how we are feeling and allowing us to connect with others.

Emory University compared the brains of people after they read fiction (specifically, Robert Harris’ Pompeii over nine nights) to the brains of people who didn’t read. The readers demonstrated more brain activity in certain areas, especially the left temporal cortex, the part of the brain typically associated with understanding language.

7. Develops creativity
Fiction creates the perfect environment for creativity. A study published in Creativity Research Journal asked students to read either a short fictional story or a non-fiction essay and then measured their emotional need for certainty and stability.

Researchers discovered that the fiction readers had less need for “cognitive closure” than those who read non-fiction, and added:

“These findings suggest that reading fictional literature could lead to better procedures of processing information generally, including those of creativity.”

8. It makes us happier
A survey of 1,500 adult readers in the UK found that 76 percent of them said reading improves their life and helps to make them feel good.

The survey also found that regular readers were generally more satisfied with life, happier, and more likely to feel that the things they do in life are worthwhile.

Trinity aims to provide a thoroughly Christian education in which boys are nurtured and flourish. The School’s Arthur Holt Library inspires lifelong learning and a love of reading, delivering collections and innovative programmes that celebrate text, promote literacy, and support teaching and learning.

To learn about the Trinity difference and to discover why we’re one of Sydney’s top boys’ schools, register for our upcoming Open Day.

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Topics: Literacy, Trinity difference, Reading, Academic excellence, Pastoral care, Improve learning, Libraries, Boys learning, Boys and literacy, Education