To become a good writer, you must read. To more fully understand the world, and possibly yourself, you must read. I loved reading as a child because it helped me make sense of the world: I particularly enjoyed autobiographies and discovering how other people thought and felt. But there are many reasons for reading – the experience can provide comfort (there are other people like me), solace, take you on an adventure, expand your horizons, delight and amuse you, and allow you to imagine different possibilities in life.
My son was a late reader and there is much debate about the best way to learn to read (phonetics versus whole reading). But I am particularly interested in those older children who read well but not deeply.
I often encounter the situation where a school teacher has assigned a book for a class to read which is too advanced for a student I teach: NOT because the vocabulary or sentence structure is too difficult, but because the child is not able to relate to or understand certain situations/dilemmas in the book. This might be, for example, not understanding why a character reacts to another in a particular way (in anger or confusion …). The character’s reaction might be outside of the student’s experience and capacity to comprehend.
Drama can help; creating and developing stories, exploring emotions and reactions, discussing characters, imagining new situations …all this encourages self-knowledge, develops imagination and deepens reading comprehension. Parents can help too. Reading aloud to your child is one of the greatest gifts you can give. Not only is snuggling up with a book a great bonding time between parent and child, it also gives you a wonderful opportunity to communicate a love of language and stories and to talk about the complex (hopefully) circumstances in the book.