Posts Tagged ‘ reading skills ’

New Study Reveals Reading Aloud to Kids Does Matter

Thursday, January 8th, 2015

Parents may think twice about skipping nighttime stories aloud after learning the results of Scholastic’s latest study, the fifth edition of the Kids & Family Reading Report.

The biannual national survey examined a child’s reading behavior and attitude toward reading. The updated survey included 2,558 parents and children (between the ages of 0 and 17). Study results determined early literacy was important, especially when parents read aloud to their children during their first five years.

More than half the children ages 0 to 5 (54 percent) were read aloud to at home between 5 and 7 days a week. The number declined to 34 percent when kids were ages 6 to 8, and then 17 percent when kids were ages 9 to 11. Although most parents (86 percent) acknowledged the importance of reading and wanted their children to enjoy reading for fun, most parents had stopped reading aloud to their kids once they could read independently. But 40 percent of children ages 6 to 11 actually wished their parents still read aloud to them.

Researchers also explored how a child’s reading patterns later in life, whether they would become frequent or infrequent readers. Frequent readers included children who read for fun 5 to 7 days a week while infrequent readers read less than once a week. For older kids, especially boys, reading enjoyment also dropped after the age of 8 because of interest in other activities. But for kids between ages 6 to 17 who were frequent readers, several factors contributed to their love for reading, which included having parents who were frequent readers and who read aloud to them often, starting at an early age.

The findings also concluded that independent reading at school is crucial. 52 percent of children surveyed said reading independently at school was one of their favorite parts of the day. And reading time at school was especially important for children from low-income families, with 61 percent of children (between ages 6 to 17) from low-income households saying they read books for fun mostly in school.

So how can parents instill a lasting love of reading in their children? Lead by example early on! If you introduce books at an early age, your child will know you’re an avid reader and she’ll likely mirror your behavior. Reading is also the key to improving vocabulary and inspiring imagination, so why not encourage consistent reading habits? Just because a child is able to read independently doesn’t mean you have to stop reading aloud together — make time to read together in fun, entertaining voices, and she’ll never put a book down. We live in a time where tablets and smartphones rule our world and children are becoming addicted to this technology at a much earlier age. Reading, then, is a perfect, “screen-free” alternative.

Caitlin St John is an Editorial Assistant for Parents.com who splits her time between New York City and her hometown on Long Island. She’s a self-proclaimed foodie who loves dancing and anything to do with her baby nephew. Follow her on Twitter: @CAITYstjohn

Before Your Child Starts Reading...
Before Your Child Starts Reading...
Before Your Child Starts Reading...

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Image: Family reading via Shutterstock

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Math and Reading Skills Are Affected by the Same Genes

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

A point against the idea that there’s a good-at-math gene you’re lacking—scientists have discovered that many of the genes that influence a child’s math ability also impact their skill at reading. The study, published in the journal Nature Communications, compared DNA and math and reading test results for nearly 2,800 12-year-olds in the UK, looking for DNA differences and how skills matched up.

Of course, there isn’t complete overlap (could that account for the lack of math or language prowess in an otherwise brilliant person?)—and the study authors also found that nurture can also play a role in whether your child becomes the next Einstein or Shakespeare.

“We looked at this question in two ways, by comparing the similarity of thousands of twins, and by measuring millions of tiny differences in their DNA. Both analyses show that similar collections of subtle DNA differences are important for reading and maths,” study author Oliver Davis, of University College London, said in a school news release.

“However, it’s also clear just how important our life experience is in making us better at one or the other. It’s this complex interplay of nature and nurture as we grow up that shapes who we are.”

Not sure where your child’s talents lie? Take our quiz.

What Kids Like (And Don't Like) About School
What Kids Like (And Don't Like) About School
What Kids Like (And Don't Like) About School

Image: Kids at school by Pressmaster/Shutterstock.com

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