Netflix is lately adapting more and more books into TV series and movies. Young fiction works are apparently of the most popular adaptations, and it will be easy to lose count if we include comic books and graphic novels.
Far from outshining the book industry, all of these adaptations are making people more interested in reading. Digital media is now portable, and we can catch up with our favorite TV shows or calm down children at home or even on the road after a long day at work. One would think that such an overload of stimuli would turn children’s books into a relic of the past, but it is not the case.
Why are children’s book still thriving when there are so many options to entertain kids nowadays?
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Children’s books are still popular, at least among parents
In 2019, a presentation about consumer trends in the book industry revealed that book sales went down a little bit (3%), but children’s books remain stable in a flat market. More than half the parents surveyed read aloud to their children before the age of 5 years and until they started to read by themselves.
It is evident that parents are doing what they can to encourage good reading habits. I personally experienced how it feels to receive a colorful book with a shiny and new sleeve that still smells new. It made me treasure books as a beautiful and comforting gift. And even though I knew by memory the stories within, I learned how to read faster than other kids because I wanted to figure out and recreate the stories by myself. It was a magical feeling, and my teachers and parents were very pleased.
That’s just one of the goals mom and dad try to achieve by encouraging reading at a young age.
Benefits of reading at a young age
It is never too early to start reading as long as your kid feels truly interested and motivated. There are so many benefits that I felt it was appropriate to arrange them into three different categories:
Oral language benefits
Reading improves oral language and helps children develop fluidity to explain themselves, describe, and recount day-to-day events and situations. When reading is shared by parents and their children, it helps detecting oral language problems and praising when kids are doing great. In many cases, reading allows children to correct speech problems, and it is a useful tool to help them increase their vocabulary.
Cognitive and creativity benefits
Reading allows children to enter into an imaginary world and live situations they would have not imagined by themselves. It exposes children to knowledge of how things work, how people react and feel, and how the world around them moves.
This early knowledge is very important to stimulate intelligence and creativity. It is also an early stimulus to acquire writing as a new skill, and may also stimulate an interest for language and the different elements of the book world, such as authors, book titles, and covers.
As children become engaged in books, they start to develop an improved reading comprehension that will be useful in the years to come, when they have to go through text books, understand them, and reach their own conclusions.
Benefits for disadvantaged kids
Guided and shared reading with parents can be very useful for children with learning disabilities and other cognitive problems. It is also a very good way to stimulate the true potential in kids who live in a social background that encourages dropouts and violence.
Why is reading so beneficial?
We could start naming hundreds of reasons, but these causes are more likely and widely accepted in the scientific literature:
- It stimulates an established routine: Creating a routine facilitates learning and helps children feel safe. Repetition of the same book is common in children, and it is estimated that reading the same book at least 4 times improves children’s oral language.
- It teaches vocabulary: Children’s books are very important to obtain and understand the use of new words. These books contain 3 times more words than regular conversation, and a higher grammatical complexity than TV shows and movies.
- Illustrations are powerful tools: They can become a vehicle to tag objects and actions, learn new words, and understand new concepts. They can also be used by parents to explain different topics or as a reference to help children understand complex situations.
- Promotes interaction with adults: Reading books with mom and dad can become an excellent way to strengthen their bonds. It gives plenty of opportunities parents can seize to express emotions and contribute with the learning process.
So, children’s book will always thrive, especially among parents that understand how books contribute to their children’s cognitive abilities, creativity, oral language, and emotions.
Movies and digital media will always be entertaining and work to calm down your kids in the train, but only books will improve their vocabulary and stimulate their true potential.