Reading is one of the best ways for young people to explore

Right now, fewer young people read daily than ever before. Luckily, initiatives like ‘The Big Read’ are helping to get kids reading more. The Big Read gives everyone the chance to share a common adventure by reading the same story. Kiwi schools are embracing the idea because when young people explore through books, it helps them develop in lots of meaningful ways.


Young people can explore through books

Books let kids explore without physical limitations. Exploring new environments is one of the most exciting parts of reading and in books, kids can visit places they can’t reach any other way. Through books we can have experiences we wouldn’t otherwise be able to, and we can still learn the life skills that they offer. When you read, you can also explore emotions and perspectives which is a great way to build empathy.


The benefits from exploring through books are unique and special

Books provide the kind of escape that so many teens are seeking. When you’re immersed in a book, you can go beyond the confines of your family or school. You can explore who you are and what you believe. A test showed that reading, silently, for six minutes can slow down the heart rate and ease tension in the muscles.

Reading helps make you smarter too. Research shows that reading a good book can stimulate brain connectivity.

Psychologists point out that reading can help young people learn patience and perseverance. Daniel Willingham, a psychology professor, says that reading can help children learn there are rewards in “doing something taxing, in delayed gratification”. It’s a lesson that digital technology usually avoids.


Let’s get books and their benefits to kids

William’s old high school, Westlake Boys’ High School, gave all its new Year 9 students a copy of his book to read over summer. They knew this would give the new students plenty of benefits, as well as something to talk about on their first day. The book has been used extensively in the language programme, as well as other curriculum areas. Other schools are getting the book for their courses too! It is exciting to know that all of these young people will get the experience of reading a story about resilience, perseverance and hope. Best of all, reading sets the stage for our kids to become the hero in their own stories.

William’s book, Every Day’s a Good Day is available here.