The Importance of Reading: A Guest Post by Patricia Furstenberg, Author of Joyful Trouble

Joyful Trouble - cover

I truly believe reading is a joy all children need in their lives and am delighted that Patricia Furstenberg, author of the children’s book Joyful Trouble, agrees and has written all about that topic for Linda’s Book Bag today.

Joyful Trouble was published on 16th April 2017 and is available for purchase in e-book and paperback here (though there’s a special free offer today 17th May 2017).

Joyful Trouble

Joyful Trouble - cover

A humorous read about an incredible dog and how he found his true, yet unexpected calling.

A dog. A friendship. A purpose.

Proven to warm your heart, Joyful Trouble is a fast-paced, engaging and funny story.

Patricia Furstenberg paints a charming portrait of the bond between a small girl and boy and their much-loved Grandad. This book takes readers on an unbelievable journey, tackling universal themes and voicing animal rights and the importance of fighting for what is right.

When a Great Dane arrives in a Navy base nobody expects him to win everybody’s hearts, although breaking some rules along the way. But things soon turn sour as somebody threatens to put him to sleep. Who will stand up for this four-legged gentle giant?

A charming celebration of innocence.

Why Is Reading So Important For Our Children?

A Guest Post by Patricia Furstenberg

As a parent I would certainly want my children to grow up to be successful human beings. To have a good family life filled with love and understanding, friends to laugh and count on and a job they are happy to face every day.

How can I help them prepare for life?

Overlooked, yet efficient, being a good reader is proven to equip children with much needed life skills.

Apart from proven educational, neurological and psychological benefits, reading is proven to stimulate children’s developing minds and improve their empathic skills, helping them socialise at school and thrive in life.

If IQ (Intelligence Quotient) measures how clever our brain is, scientists like to measure our empathy through its EQ (Emotional Intelligence Quotient). An individual with a high EQ will better understand his own emotions and be able to relate to the emotional state of those around him, thus improving his social skills and, eventually, the general social welfare of his generation.

In less fortunate circumstances empathy can also act like a shield, protecting our children in peer-pressure situations. Empathic children are less violent and will grow to become adults with a lower risk of emotional or behavioural problems later in life.

But reading contributes to our children’s intellectual life as well. To better understand this we first need to see how reading takes place.

As we read a book, an article or even a recipe, there are four different activities taking place at the same time in our brain.

  1. Phonics – we sound the letters by associating a speech sound to them.
  2. Sight – some English words need to be recognized as a whole unit, then sounded (“the”). English has 44 speech sounds, 20 vowel sounds and 24 consonant sounds, but only 26 letters. Therefore thinking skills must also be used when reading English.
  3. Contextual analysis – prediction of what will happen next, vital when reading fiction. Although if a recipe contains sugar and flour then I can safely predict that its final product will be enjoyed by all the members of my household.
  4. Structural analysis – understanding what a word means by simply looking at its root or figuring out its meaning from the context, thus building vocabulary.

This is why being a good reader makes learning during school years and tertiary education a lot easier. For reading goes deeper than sounding words; reading is understanding what’s being said behind the literary meaning of the story, connecting this information to what we already know, relating to it and drawing knowledge from it. Reading is also the capacity of focusing on a text for a certain amount of time. And these skills, like the pieces of a puzzle, are what later help our children experience a successful schooling career.

But wait; there is more to reading than learning the names of all the Kings and Queens of England. I had A’s in History during high school, but now all I remember about the Tudor era is what I recently read in Philippa Gregory’s books. I wonder why.

Children and adults alike (seems like J) tend to better remember information if it’s been presented to them in an interesting package. Children will absorb more facts if they’re presented in a story with a green dragon and a nosy prince.

Because our children live in a fantasy world (a coping mechanism for the young body and mind), stories are the ideal milieu for them to safely explore new emotions and relationships. Such as the relationship between Ana, Tommy and Grandpa in my latest children’s book, Joyful Trouble, (published April 2017), but also the relationship between Grandpa and the Great Dane. The bond between grandparents and grandchildren is strong and unique and it shouldn’t be taken for granted. Our Millennial Kids tend to spend more time plugged into a video game than on Grandpa’s knees, no wonder the medical psychologists nicknamed them the “glow kids”.

Joyful Trouble brings back the magic and safety of this relationship and the fun, wonders and implications of looking after a dog.

Stories take us places and they certainly do transport children to wherever the action is happening, from the safety of their own homes. Reading gives children a sense of being creative. Within their minds, children are the creators of the worlds and characters they read about.

As far apart as they may seem, reality and fantasy are interconnected.

A child would often fantasize about a story and use that fantasy to further build on it. The same goes for problem solving; it is their creative side which helps children to find a solution to a problem.

Being able to have a small contribution to all this while taking an abstract, grown-up concept and packaging it in an attractive, child-friendly way while adding sensitivity and lots of love, yes, this is why I write stories for children.

(I couldn’t agree with you more Patricia!)

About Patricia Furstenberg

Author head

Patricia Furstenberg came to writing though reading. After completing her Medical Degree in Romania she moved to South Africa where she now lives with her husband, children and their dogs. Patricia became taking writing seriously  after becoming one of the WYO Christie winners. She enjoys writing for children  because she can take abstract, grown-up concepts and package them it in attractive, child-friendly ways while adding sensitivity and lots of love.

All of Patricia’s children’s books are available here.

You can follow Patricia on Twitter, find her on Facebook and visit her website. She’s also on Goodreads.

16 thoughts on “The Importance of Reading: A Guest Post by Patricia Furstenberg, Author of Joyful Trouble

  1. Adorable cover for that book! I completely agree that reading to children is vital. Although, sadly, only one of my grown-up children is an avid reader. I still hope the others come back to it. Maybe when they are out of college and have more time.

    Liked by 2 people

    • patfurstenberg says:

      I have discovered lately that my children tend to read less fiction in their private time as soon as school work begins to peak. They will read the fiction required for the English class, but their brains are so full of textbooks and class time, that in the little free time left all they long to do is unplug themselves from any kind of… reading, I presume!
      Although my daughter, no matter how heavy her school backpack gets (and it sits at around 9 kilos daily) she always has a book tucked inside, ‘just in case, Mommy’. And this term is a hardcover!

      Liked by 2 people

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