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The importance of reading in the classroom

Date: April 21, 2019 Author: Bruce Jordan Categories: Blog

Children and nursery teacher reading book together in kindergarten

Children of preschool age are at very sensitive stages in their development, undergoing what’s often described as “tremendous” cognitive changes. At this time, these three to five-year-olds are learning representational thought, the ability to comprehend that sometimes pictures (symbols) can stand for objects, people, and events, or have completely unique meanings all their own. This is also the point in development where logic begins to arise and children start thinking through how things work and work together in their environments. Since this period of their lives is so impressionable and consequential in their cognitive development, it’s no wonder why teachers have an important role to fill in managing this knowledge cultivation.

 

Reading is an engaging and efficient tool to promote reasoning and problem solving in young students. Not to mention other facets like symbolic play, memory, social cognition, and metacognitive knowledge.

 

Reading as a road to reasoning and problem-solving

 

Once children reach pre-k age, they start to (at least) try to explain the world around them. Whether how things work or why things are the way they are, they are beginning to assign meaning to their existence. Their conclusions, though fantastic at times, tend to be far-fetched to many adults. But this attempt to categorize and classify their natural world is evidence of the one prerequisite of critical thinking: natural curiosity.

 

Reading is a tool that can be used to harness and hone this curiosity into a tool for exploration. Taking turns reading aloud helps build children’s confidence in their own competency, but teachers can (and should) push this further by taking the time to pose thought-provoking or open ended questions to students while reading to foster problem solving and critical thought.

 

Metacognitive knowledge through reading

 

Metacognition is the ability to think (cognition) beyond (meta) our thoughts. Or, more accurately, to think about our thoughts. By encouraging young minds to pause and reflect about what they may have just read and to have students connect the material to the student’s own life, teachers can help children understand that the way they think and learn is completely unique to that of their friends, parents, and even their teachers.