Why Do Children Learn Better through Books and Stories?
Children love stories. Helping children improve their reading skills not only helps them learn new information but also gives them a way to relate to the world. Preparing them for school and life is a beautiful and challenging journey for parents, so get ready for a true adventure! As you know, all exciting adventures have an equally exciting story, so in this article, I’ll explain why children learn better through books and storytelling.
Stories Help Us Understand Ourselves Better
Stories help readers understand how authors and their characters think and why they act as they do.
The following are some examples of storybooks for children with relatable main characters:
Anne of Green Gables
It is a story about an orphan who lives on a farm in Prince Edward Island with a lonely, middle-aged brother and sister.
A boy born with a facial deformity cannot attend school until now. His classmates have difficulty getting past his weird-looking face when he starts 5th grade. Beginning with Auggie, the book switches to his classmates, sister, sister’s boyfriend, and others. One community struggles with acceptance, empathy, and compassion in these perspectives.
These classic stories, set in Paris, tell tales of courageous Madeline, who’s not afraid of anything, not mice, or tigers, and she even knows how to frighten her teacher, Miss Clavelle.
If You Come Softly
Jeremiah feels good in his skin as long as he’s in his neighborhood in Brooklyn. So when he starts going to a fancy prep school in Manhattan, he’s surprised when he meets a girl named Ellie. When he first meets her, he knows they fit together even though he’s black and she’s Jewish. Their worlds are different, but that doesn’t matter to them.
Stories Can Also Change Children’s Perceptions of Other Cultures and Their Behavior
For example, one researcher, Hillary Janks, worked with children and teachers to examine how images of refugees affect their perception. She found that refugees were often referred to as “he” or “they,” even though 80% were women and children.
Another scholar, Kathy Short, studied how children engage with stories about human rights. As part of their work with 200 children at a K-5 school, they found stories encouraging children at those ages to advocate for change in their local communities.
Share stories about child activists like Iqbal, a true story about Iqbal Masih, a child activist who fought for child labor laws. He was killed at 12 years old because of what he stood for. They read these stories while studying human rights abuses and food scarcity worldwide. As a result, many students wanted to make a community garden to support the local food bank in school.
They Help Children Understand Multiculturalism
Classrooms today have a diverse mix of races. For example, schools in the United States can have kids from as many as 65 different countries who speak as many as 75 different languages. By reading stories about children worldwide, such as Iqbal, they learn new perspectives that go beyond and relate to the contexts they live in.
They Enhance Imagination
When children read, they develop visual pictures. They imagine what the characters look like and what’s happening in every chapter and connect to the characters and events. They link the characters to their feelings and identify with them.
Exercise The Brain
Reading forces the brain to use different parts than it uses when watching TV – specifically, it uses the left temporal cortex and midbrain. Language receptivity, sensation and movement, symbol recognition, sounds, and spoken language are all associated.
Those are just some ways children learn better through books and stories. In addition, books and stories can be a great way to teach children important lessons about life. For example, suppose they read a story with a character they can identify with and see what happens to them in a situation they can relate to. In that case, they will develop critical thinking, problem-solving, decision-making, empathy, and more.
Stories have been shown to impact young children’s brains and emotions significantly. When children read books and stories, the brain produces a chemical called dopamine, which results in the sense of deep pleasure and satisfaction. Humanity evolved through stories – by creating them, sharing them, and learning from them – so the best investment you can make in your kids’ future is encouraging them to read, think about what they read, and engage in conversations and debates to apply critical thinking to what they read.