Reading: More than child’s play Reading: More than child’s play

Reading stimulates brain activity, strengthens neural connections and provides different ways of seeing and understanding the world.

Advisor: Rosa Julia Guzmán Rodríguez, educator

Reading increases the brain’s response time. When you read, you force your brain to think, to organize your thoughts, connect words, work your memory and let your imagination run free. While this is one of the most difficult skills to learn, it is also one of the most necessary, as it is a key aspect of fine-tuning reading comprehension. Children form this habit throughout their childhood, but it is not until adolescence when this cognitive process becomes fully developed.

As the educator Rosa Julia Guzmán explains, reading “increases vocabulary and provides resources for oral and written expression that allow children and adolescents to strengthen their argumentative skills.” As Guzmán indicates, reading comprehension helps with attaining general knowledge. This helps youth, for example, to establish social relationships through actual conversations on topics of their interest such as music, sports, technology, fashion and film.

As for the main appeals and tools available today for experiencing reading, the curiosity and desire to learn about other customs and about travel stand out.

“They may find the answers to what they want to know in literature or in other texts; whether they are about the music they listen to, situations of daily life or issues specific to their age group,” she adds.

Other alternatives to picking up this habit can be found in technology, especially with the internet as they search through the media outlets that interest them, read their favorite books through e-books or download apps.

As Guzmán concludes, “Other useful sources for strengthening this process include school libraries, Google searches and even video games, especially those that involve using strategies.”

According to the Colombian Neurology Association, reading, especially fiction stories, helps to reduce stress and sleep disorders.

How to detect reading comprehension problems. Children may:

  • Read slowly

  • Skip over words

  • Replace terms for others with a different meaning

  • Have a poor vocabulary

  • Have poor spelling

  • Write poorly in a way that is not coherent

  • Have poor intonation when they read

  • Have difficulties making inferences and taking a position about what they read

Practice reasoning skills

  • Have students comment about a reading with teachers, friends or classmates.

  • Hold debates in small groups on current issues that are of interest to them.

  • Participate actively in film forums.

  • Summarize what is read in order to improve the reader’s ability to synthesize.

  • Think before you speak: Why am I saying this? Or what am I basing what I say on?

Get hooked on reading

  1. Complement reading with films and plays to strengthen comprehension.
  2. Identify what topics students get excited about reading and what topics spark their interest for developing this habit, which will be with them the rest of their lives.
  3. Choose comfortable and quiet spaces for reading time. It is important to have an ergonomic posture for this activity.
  4. If necessary, ask for an eye test or see a specialist to identify potential cognitive or thought problems.

50% is how likely you are to prevent memory loss if you have the habit of reading.