Albert Einstein was once asked what we could do to make our children smarter. He answered, “If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.”
The greater their vocabulary, the better they do at school
Interestingly the research backs Einstein’s response. The more we read to our children, the greater their vocabulary. The greater their vocabulary, the better they do at school. The better they do at school, the more successful they will be in life.
A 2013 study by the University of Melbourne followed more than 4,000 Australian kids from pre-school to mid-primary. The study found the single-most-important predictor of overall success at school was the amount they were read to as toddlers. Reading to Young Children: A Head-Start in Life, found children who were read to three to five times a week were almost six months ahead of their peers in reading and cognitive skills (activities of thinking, understanding, learning and remembering) by the time they started school. Children who enjoyed daily story time were almost 12 months ahead. By age eight to nine, these kids recorded higher scores in the National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) tests than kids who went without. In addition to the purely academic benefits, children who were read to regularly as toddlers showed greater school readiness, a better approach to learning and better physical, social and emotional development.
“It’s likely that strong reading ability will enable children to absorb and understand new information, which affects their achievement in all subjects,” says study co-author Dr Alice Sullivan of the 2013 British study; Social inequalities in cognitive scores at age 16: The role of reading.
Children with a rich vocabulary will understand more
We recommend making time to read to your child in a pleasurable environment, as it creates a happy association with books that can help motivate children to keep trying when the learning gets tough. Read to your children for 10 minutes every day. You can read to your child when you cuddle them to sleep, when they need comforting, while you’re having a coffee break or on Skype from your hotel room on your next business trip. Read food packaging labels in the supermarket queue with your child, the next time you shop. We all lead busy lives but reading to your child doesn’t need to be a chore. The value of reading to your child is evident in the ability to improve their vocabulary.
Inspired by an article published in CHILD Magazines on 11 February 2019