Grandma Jane

The Importance of Reading to Children

by Andrew Harris


“Reading is like going on a holiday without packing your bags. Better than any doctor’s medicine.” This quote from a young person says more about the importance of reading than many academic studies. It suggests a link between reading and a basic human need: happiness!

The debate about reading can be very narrow – focussing too much on the role of schools and literacy skills. Far better to think about reading in terms of children’s growth, creativity, imagination and happiness. There are frequently cited arguments linking literacy to wider concepts like success and well-being. The Reading Agency argues for a more holistic view of the role of reading. Toronto University in Canada has completed research showing that reading fiction help to develop social skills like empathy whilst research by Surrey University found that reading is stress busting. Much needed by many!

The Health Fitness Revolution is a movement of people who want to create a world which is healthier and fitter. They reckon that reading gives a child or teenager 10 benefits:

  • The mind is stimulated
  • Knowledge is acquired
  • Vocabulary is expanded
  • Writing skills are sharpened
  • Critical and analytical skills are honed
  • Memory is improved
  • Concentration is boosted
  • It is a source of entertainment
  • It feeds the imagination
  • Stress is reduced

Blackpool is lucky. Jane Wilde – also known as Grandma Jane – is a qualified teaching assistant who is building on her passion for reading and experience with her children and grandchildren to help other children and teenagers benefit from reading and reading games which can be fun. Grandma Jane offers one-to-one personal support for children and teenagers who want or need to improve their reading skills. After school activity can include Grandma Jane reading your child’s favourite book and complementing this by art and craft activity which can bring out a child’s creative potential as well as their reading skills. It also encourages patience and commitment!

Jane offers a personal service for children from the age of 4 through to their teenage years. Sessions can be one hour for reading and related activity with half hour sessions for help with homework or spelling. The first session is always free and charges are limited to £22 for an hour and £13.50 for half an hour. How else can you help your child for just £2.20 per benefit per hour?

Article first featured in October 17 issue in the magazine.