How Reading Can Help Your Child Go Farther In The Future

By KBJR News 1

August 4, 2010 Updated Aug 4, 2010 at 2:52 PM CDT

The latest news may be about downloading to a Kindle or IPad, but when it comes to kids and reading, there just might be nothing better than an old–fashioned book – not only for pleasure and for education, but for their mental health, as well.

Research reported in the Journal of American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry finds that teens with reading problems are more likely to deal with anxiety, depression and attention deficit disorders than their peers with typical reading skills.

But unfortunately, as teens get older, they read less and less.

Barbara Reyelts has the story for Connect With Kids.

8 year old Girl Reading Harry Potter: "The detritus of crumpled up bits of parchment...."

According to the national kids and family reading report, 40 percent of 8 year olds read for fun every day .

"The first week of term seemed to have dragged on forever."

But, by the time kids reach high school, almost half say they read for fun only once a month, once a year, or not at all.

"I think I lost interest partly because I ran out of time to read, I had so much homework."

But, experts say, reading is the best way to build vocabulary– to learn writing skills– and punctuation.

"While they are reading, they are learning grammar usage, they are learning word choice, they are seeing words and they're learning how to spell them because they are seeing them on more of a regular basis."

Even kids in the survey acknowledge that reading skills are important for college and beyond.

"I think reading will help you get into a better college, because you need to write a lot of essays to get into college. So reading helps you write better."

Experts say it's not enough for teens to read textbooks. Reading for fun helps them be more creative.

"You are reading stories, you are creating images, you're making your own interpretations of what those stories mean."

She says parents can encourage teens to read by getting comic books, magazines, anything they find interesting.

"It does not have to be the Canterbury Tales or Shakespeare it can be Vanity Fair it's whatever works for your child."