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1. Reading is fundamental to function in today's society. There are many adults who cannot read well enough to understand the instructions on a medicine bottle. That is a scary thought - especially for their children. Filling out applications becomes impossible without help. Reading road or warning signs is difficult. Even following a map becomes a chore. Day-to-day activities that many people take for granted become a source of frustration, anger and fear.

2. Reading is a vital skill in finding a good job. Many well-paying jobs require reading as a part of job performance. There are reports and memos which must be read and responded to. Poor reading skills increases the amount of time it takes to absorb and react in the workplace. A person is limited in what they can accomplish without good reading and comprehension skills.

3. Reading is important because it develops the mind. The mind is a muscle. It needs exercise. Understanding the written word is one way the mind grows in its ability. Teaching young children to read helps them develop their language skills. It also helps them learn to listen. Everybody wants to talk, but few can really listen. Lack of listening skills can result in major misunderstandings which can lead to job loss, marriage breakup, and other disasters - small and great. Reading helps children [and adults] focus on what someone else is communicating.

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On many of the other pages of advice on this site I have emphasized how important reading is as far as learning English is concerned. However, there is a further, very important reason why ESL students should try to develop their reading skills: Educational researchers have found that there is a strong correlation between reading and academic success.* In other words, a student who is a good reader is more likely to do well in school and pass exams than a student who is a weak reader.Good readers can understand the individual sentences and the organizational structure of a piece of writing. They can comprehend ideas, follow arguments, and detect implications. They know most of the words in the text already, but they can also determine the meaning of many of the unfamiliar words from the context - failing this, they can use their dictionary effectively to do so. In summary, good readers can extract from the writing what is important for the particular task they are employed in. And they can do it quickly!Educational researchers have also found a strong correlation between reading and vocabulary knowledge. In other words, students who have a large vocabulary are usually good readers. This is not very surprising, since the best way to acquire a large vocabulary is to read extensively, and if you read extensively you are likely to be or become a good reader!So if you want your child to be successful at school encourage him or her to read. Reading non-fiction in English is probably the most important, but English fiction and any reading in the mother tongue - if done extensively - will help your child develop the reading competence that is essential for academic achievement.
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