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Reading for Pleasure Puts Children Ahead in the Classroom

Reading for Pleasure Puts Children Ahead in the Classroom

New research from the Institute of Education (IOE) suggests children who read for pleasure are likely to do significantly better at school than their peers who don’t.

The IOE study, which is believed to be the first to examine the effect of reading for pleasure on cognitive development over time, found that children who read for pleasure made more progress in maths, vocabulary and spelling between the ages of 10 and 16 than those who rarely read.

Perhaps surprisingly, reading for pleasure was found to be more important for children’s cognitive development between ages 10 and 16 than their parents’ level of education. The combined effect on children’s progress of reading books often, going to the library regularly and reading newspapers at 16 was four times greater than the advantage children gained from having a parent with a degree.

Children who were read to regularly by their parents at age 5 performed better in all three tests at age 16 than those who were not helped in this way.

Reading for pleasure had the strongest effect on children’s vocabulary development, but the impact on spelling and maths was still significant. “It may seem surprising that reading for pleasure would help to improve children’s maths scores,” she said. “But it is likely that strong reading ability will enable children to absorb and understand new information and affect their attainment in all subjects.”

This study underlines the importance of encouraging children to read – even in the digital age.

For further information, visit http://www.ioe.ac.uk/newsEvents/89938.html

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