Children whose parents read to them do better in both reading and math later in life. Many of us have heard that reading aloud to young children is important for their development. A study conducted at the University of Bamberg looked further into the connection between sharing books at an early age and later academic success. The results confirmed that literacy was enhanced by exposure to books during the preschool years. It also went further, finding that reading to toddlers has wider implications than you might expect.
Children involved in the study were observed between the ages of three and eleven to twelve years old. Their literacy and numeracy skills were tested annually.
According to the results, children whose parents read books to them and talked about books in meaningful ways during early childhood performed better in both reading and mathematics in secondary school.
Going further, the current home situation did not negate the effects of reading together at a young age. In other words, an unhealthy home environment during the secondary years did not mean poor academic achievement for those children whose parents shared books with early on. The study confirms that home learning has far-reaching results.
The researchers analyzed secondary factors in detail, to best inform their recommendations to parents. According to their analysis, parents ought to incorporate some formal literacy and numeracy activities into their children's home life. They should have a variety of high-quality books at home, which they should read aloud regularly to their children.
To continue, book sharing should involve rich discussions. In particular, the researchers suggest that parents incorporate numeracy skills into their book discussions. For example, they might ask their child to count the apples on an illustration of an apple tree.
Reading to preschoolers has long been touted for increasing literacy. This study brings to light even more good results from sharing books. So head to your local library or bookstore!