The University of London’s Institute of Education Children has released a study showing that reading for pleasure can “significantly” improve a child’s school performance.
Most dramatically, the researchers ruled that “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.”
Dr. Alice Sullivan and Matt Brown led the study, examining the performance of 6,000 young people in the 1970 British Cohort Study. They measured test score performance at five, 10 and 16 years old.
Reading for pleasure improved math, spelling and vocabulary performance in children between 10 and 16-years-old–comparing their progress to kids who don’t read regularly. Here’s more from the release:
The researchers, who are based in the IOE’s Centre for Longitudinal Studies, compared children from the same social backgrounds who had achieved the same test scores as each other both at ages 5 and 10. They discovered that those who read books often at age 10 and more than once a week at age 16 gained higher results in all three tests at age 16 than those who read less regularly. 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.