WITH MORE AND MORE KIDS TURNING TO THEIR GADGETS AND SMART PHONES FOR ENTERTAINMENT, THE ART OF READING IS SEEMINGLY TAKING A BACK SEAT. HEALTH SPEAKS TO DR. SALIHA AFRIDI, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST IN DUBAI ABOUT REVIVING READING IN YOUR HOME.
WHY READING MATTERS
According to Dr. Afridi, the benefits of reading are too many to list, but the main reasons reading is good for children is because it develops their language skills, their critical thinking skills, and their creativity. High reading comprehension scores are also linked to overall academic success.
With so many kids glued to their gadgets for school or entertainment, Dr. Afridi points out that the brain and eyes can get exhausted from the bright lights and the constant engagement. “Even if the child is reading on the technology, it isn’t as good for him as it is to read a book,” she says. “Technology and playing games can also result in a sort of ‘techno-burnout’ where kids are overstimulated, not sleeping enough, and that results in being disengaged from anything strenuous, and/or related to reading and academics.” Lastly, technology can over stimulate a child to the point where anything that is less stimulating can seem boring. Books, she adds, are obviously not as visually stimulating as a video game so kids who play a lot of video games or who often watch TV might find it harder to engage with the books and reading.
Tips to Promote a Reading Culture in the Home
- 1. Read to your children especially when they are young, but also as they get older. Instead of movies or TV, make your home culture where you sit and go on a ‘journey’ through reading a book.
- 2. Read with them- sit with them and have them choose a book and read together as they get older. You can take turns reading out loud to each other.
- 3. Visit libraries and bookstores – sit and spend the day in different aisles and have them enjoy the different worlds they can access through reading different books.
- 4. Have them see you reading- modeling is the best way to inspire children.
- 5. Give their brain a rest from activities. A rested brain will more likely to engage in books than one that is overworked and overstimulated. (Credit: Dr. Saliha Afridi, Clinical Psychologist)