Einstein famously once said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” When I was twelve, I read through the novels The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings and was introduced to an entire world of imagination, where almost anything was possible. The movie adaptations would not be made for many years in the future, so the world that Tolkien had so meticulously created had to be imagined in my mind. My imagination had to do all of the work to envisage what I was reading.

As it turns out, studies have shown that reading is a key element in the development of imagination. It stimulates the right side of our brain and helps us analyse the world through the eyes of others. But the benefits of reading don’t end there. Research by neuroscientists at Emory University suggests that becoming engrossed in a novel can significantly enhance connectivity in the brain. Still other studies show that imagination is vital to developing successful cognitive skills. In other words, exercising our imagination helps keep our brains working and thinking well. And just like physical exercise helps develop muscle memory, regular reading improves our ability to flex our imagination in all kinds of ways.

Introducing your children to the world of literature through quality fiction can have a profound effect on how they develop, both academically and creatively. The breadth of genres now available in children’s fiction is wide enough to accommodate a whole range of interests and topics. Your child’s teacher can also be a valuable source of information about books that might be suitable for them to read at home.

An engaging novel can transport children to places and times far beyond their daily experiences, developing their imagination and providing a source of enjoyment that they can return to again and again. As Einstein continued on to say, “…knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand”.

Mr Daniel East / Acting Head of Middle School