People who read at least one book per month tend to perform better in most other areas. Reading stimulates the mind which in turn stimulates thought in many useful areas. Reading relaxes the body which makes reading a great activity to end the day. instead of drinking alcohol to relax after work, read a chapter of a book.
Almost any book will work. Mix entertaining fiction with biographies and non fiction.
I find the biggest challenge for parents is to find a book that excites children to the point where they want to read. The biggest mistake is to give children books that are too easy. Children watch the floods, fires, and famine on the evening news then they are presented with a book where everyone is happy and enjoys every second of life.
The story Moby Dick is classified as grade five up yet is a story that grabs the interest of younger boys. How do you introduce younger children to the more exiting stories? Some classic tales, including Moby Dick, are translated in to comic book form so that eight year olds can read them. Soon the children will want to tackle the full story. I started with Tale of Two Cities and Jules Verne stories in comic book form about four years before the minimum recommended reading age. I then read the stories again in book form about two years before the minimum recommended reading age.
The comic book form created an easy way into complex stories. I then moved to illustrated books. Within a year I was reading the plain unillustrated versions from the adult library. Many parents leave the transition from pictures to text too late. They baby sit their children using videos of dull people dressed in colourful costumes. They give their children books that contain colourful pictures and dull text. Give your children a challenge. Give them something longer and more detailed than what they read last week. The original Batman comics, the black and white ones, are more interesting and intellectually challenging than many adult books yet young children can read and enjoy them.