Reading develops empathy.
When we are engaged in a story, we’re also imagining how the characters are feeling. We use our own experiences to imagine how we would feel in the same situation. This ability to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes is a valuable skill and serves us well as we go through life.
Reading stories to (and with) our children provides us with opportunities to discuss how the characters are feeling about or reacting to the situations they are facing. I have had very philosophical discussions with students and with my own children during/following the reading of stories.
What might cause Miss Trunchbull to become such a horrible person? Do animals have the same feelings as humans? Is it ever okay to tell a lie? It never ceases to amaze me how profound the thinking of children can be.
Adults often underestimate the wisdom of children.