Reading is an essential skill we learn starting at an early age. However, there are benefits of reading for children and teens. And there are benefits for babies too! We’ll review the benefits of each age group and how to help children and teens build good reading habits. Check out the bottom of the page for some reading recommendations to kickstart the process.

Benefits of Reading for Kids and Teens

Studies have shown that schools and teachers who encourage reading outside of their assignments can have a positive impact on these age groups. Since parents cannot choose their children’s teachers it’s best to make this encouragement happen at home. Try taking them to a bookstore and choose something that they find interesting. Be a role model and get a book for yourself if you’re not an active reader either. Reading together is not an activity just for kids or teens. Their interests may change and so will the books they read. But it’s a great way to spend time together throughout their development.

  • Thinking and critical thinking skills are strengthened.
  • Writing skills are also strengthened.
  • Problem-solving skills that can continue to develop into more complex problem-solving abilities.
  • Stronger development of concentration and lengthening concentration span.
  • Memory building is enhanced.
  • Listening skills are reinforced which is a key skill that leads to success in school.
  • Knowledge of a variety of areas that may not be covered in school is experienced and expanded.
  • Understanding and learning empathy is a social skill that will be a benefit into adulthood.
  • Learning morals and values through a character’s experience.
  • Encourages imagination which boosts social, emotional, creative, physical, linguistic, and cognitive development.
  • Provides stress relief. It can be a temporary escape from life’s stressors a calming activity that allows the body to rest. Reading before bed can also help with sleep while screens can do the opposite.

Benefits of Reading to Babies

Reading to a baby can be a delightful experience for parents too. It’s a great opportunity to bond and bring a new experience to the baby. And it’s amazing how many benefits there are for babies. Reading aloud to babies and continuing into the toddler years is one of the best ways to inspire children to explore reading. And it can even encourage them to begin reading independently.

  • Teaches communication up close and without distraction.
  • Helps develop language skills. Babies will begin to imitate mouth movements and sounds- their first steps toward learning language! 
  • Introduces new concepts like colors, numbers, and shapes in a fun way.
  • Builds listening and memory skills as they work to understand and engage with you.
  • Experiencing a parent’s expressiveness as they are reading to a baby can help build social and emotional skills.
  • Books for babies can be an interactive experience. Many baby books are meant to engage babies in new ways like asking them questions and encouraging them to point at objects. Engaging a baby in this way builds thinking skills.

Book Recommendations

Starting these habits can be difficult for kids and teens who don’t already have an interest. Here are some recommendations and there is always the local bookstore to show all kinds of options.

Book Recommendations for Kids Middle School Age

  • The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling
  • Loot by Jude Watson
  • Keeper of the Lost Cities by Shannon Messenger
  • Holes by Louis Sachar
  • I Funny: A Middle School Story by James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein, illustrated by Laura Park

Book Recommendations for Teens

  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
  • Divergent series by Veronica Roth
  • The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare
  • Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley
  • The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

Book Recommendations for Babies

  • Goodnight Moon, by Margaret Wise Brown, illustrated by Clement Hurd
  • Guess How Much I Love You?, by Sam McBratney, illustrated by Anita Jeram
  • In the Tall, Tall Grass, by Denise Fleming
  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle
  • Goodnight Gorilla, by Peggy Rathman

Getting children and teens into reading can help with their success at school and in their relationships. But starting these habits can be a challenge. Remember that starting young will help and that leading by example can be a great encouragement. Bringing your kid to the bookstore and getting you both a book can be a great bonding experience. Not to mention the time you can spend together reading or engaging them in questions about their book. It can be hard to find time but if you start and your children follow, it can be a wonderful bonding experience to share together for a long time.

Sources: Nemours, National Library, Empowered Parents, Miracle, Happiest Baby, Readers Digest, UpParent