I have written at length in a previous post about the importance of reading. In that post, I discuss at length how reading underpins every aspect of academic achievement, and how it is vital to the development of reflective thinking and critical literacy abilities.
New research now points to another significant aspect to the importance of reading, namely that deep reading develops empathy. This is a significant finding and in my opinion firmly places the humble book at the centre of importance in the social development of children and adolescents. With reading rates declining, and many young people choosing to engage with the screen rather than the printed word, the implications for the development of society are disturbing. As Gail Rebuck, the chairman and chief excecutive of Random House UK bluntly states: “If reading were to decline significantly, it would change the very nature of our species”.
For more information about the relationship between reading and empathy, read Gail’s excellent article Technology is not the enemy in the battle for the book here