How reading develops your child's brain

3 young girls reading

Reading fictional stories and narratives has an immense positive impact on a child's development, enabling them to see the world and empathise with different perspectives.

Researchers from Emory University in the USA, have found that reading creates new networks within the brain as a result of processing exciting and engaging novels. These changes persist long after reading a novel and emulate the networks that are created from lived experiences.

What this means for our kids

We have always known reading books outside of school hours was important for our kid's learning and development, but this study highlights the real impact reading narratives has on a child's brain activity.

It's never too late or too early to encourage children to start reading fiction. This holiday break provides the perfect opportunity for your kids to start to enjoy reading in their spare time, and be better prepared for the school year.

We have provided a list of must-read books below to give you a few ideas on what your child should read before they head back to class.

1. "Just Macbeth" (Andy Griffiths)

Andy Griffiths presents a comedic Australian twist on the Shakespearean classic Macbeth. The hilarious illustrations of Terry Denton bring the play to life on every page. This book is easily accessible for younger children and a fantastic way to introduce them to Shakespeare.

It’s genuinely funny, and sure to be a laugh for both parents and children of all ages.

2. "Jasper Jones" (Craig Silvey)

It has been dubbed Australia’s To Kill a Mockingbird for it’s commentary on racism and discrimination that was especially prevalent during the White Australia policy. Silvey captures what it was like to live as an outcast in a homogenous rural small town in 1965, and contemporises key social issues of our history that continue to be topical in Australia today.

It’s a thrilling narrative that will engage teenagers, while challenging them to think critically about similar social issues still present in their own context.

3. "The Hobbit" (J.R.R Tolkien)

A magical introduction to the world of Middle Earth, "The Hobbit" weaves a love of adventure and companionship in a joyful writing style. Tolkien wrote the book for his children, but when his publisher convinced him to launch it for the public it quickly became a bestseller.

It’s a must read for anyone interested in the fantasy genre.

4. "Animal Farm" (George Orwell)

There may be no better writer at igniting critical thinking in his political commentary than George Orwell. Animal Farm is a perfect introduction to his satire and literary criticism of totalitarian dictatorships, through an allegory of farm Animals. The book is a perfect taster of Orwell’s wit, and is much shorter and more accessible than his most famous novel, ‘1984’.

Animal Farm is highly recommended for teenage audiences interested in history.

5. "Harry Potter" (J.K Rowling)

It's the number one selling book series for a reason, Harry Potter is simply a must read for every child, teen, and young at heart adult. J.K Rowling immerses her readers into an exciting world that will surely ignite your child’s imagination with every flick of the page.

It’s a classic that will be enjoyed by children and parents alike for generations to come, and its place on this list is well deserved.

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