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Reading Makes You Smarter

Can reading make you smarter? Will reading really help make your child smarter?

Or is it simply that smart kids just tend to read more, and does the volume of reading contribute to a child's intellectual development? And how do we know that the increase in intelligence is attributed to reading but not something else?

I'm sure these are all burning questions that some parents might wonder about. After all, what conclusive evidence do we have to support the idea that reading makes you smarter? So here, we're going to discuss some of the scientific reports and studies that we've looked at which provide ample support, and one of the key findings is that reading volume has implications for the development of a child's cognitive ability.

There are numerous studies that have indicated that reading volume is the prime contributor to the differences in vocabulary between different children, and that this is largely due to the fact that print contains far more rare words than the spoken language - so much so that children's story books contain almost twice as many rare words compared to adult conversation of college grads [Hayes and Ahrens 1988].

This then, leads us to the question of how does a child's vocabulary affect his or her reading success later on? In a study titled " Vocabulary Development and Instruction: A Prerequisite for School Learning", Andrew Biemiller from the University of Toronto had found that a child's vocabulary at 3 years old predicts his or her grade 1 reading success!

Furthermore, in a report made by Anne E. Cunningham and Keith E. Stannovich titled: "What Reading Does for the Mind", the researchers provided convincing evidence to support the fact that reading can make your child smarter. In their report, they had stated:


"...students who get off to a fast start in reading are more likely to read more over the years, and, furthermore, this very act of reading can help children compensate for modest levels of cognitive ability by building their vocabulary and general knowledge. In other words, ability is not the only variable that counts in the development of intellectual functioning. Those who read a lot will enhance their verbal intelligence; that is, reading will make them smarter."


This brings us to the "Matthew Effect in Reading", where good readers read more, leading to greater volumes of reading, resulting in even better reading skills. Conversely, poor readers experience reading difficulties, will read less and have poor reading experiences. The chart below shows the differences in reading skill development for children with foundational reading skills compared to children without the critical foundation skills.

In an interesting study done by Anderson, Wilson, and Fielding (1988), the researchers looked at the amount of time grade 5 students spent reading while not in school, and the results of this finding was astounding. A grade 5 child at the 90th percentile reads on average 227 times more than a child in the 10th percentile! Below is a chart briefly summarizing their results:

Percentile          Time Spent Reading (mins/day)      Words Read Per Year

98                                         65.0                                     4,358,000
90                                         21.1                                     1,823,000
80                                         14.2                                     1,146,000
70                                          9.6                                       622,000
60                                          6.5                                       432,000
50                                          4.6                                       282,000
40                                          3.2                                       200,000
30                                          1.3                                        106,000
20                                          0.7                                         21,000
10                                          0.1                                          8,000
2                                            0.0                                          0

As you can see, a child in the top 90th percentile reads 1.8 million words per year compared to just 8,000 words for a child in the bottom 10th percentile. The difference is astounding.

Teach Your Child to Read Today

By the time our children were 4 years old, they were spending around 15 minutes each day on independent reading, and reading at a grade 3 level. This is not a typo, nor is it an exaggeration. We taught our children to read before they turned 3 years old, and they have mastered one of the most important skills very early on that will have long lasting benefits for the rest of their lives.

We had developed our own super simple and extremely effective learn to read program that makes it simple and possible to teach very young children to read. Our Children Learning Reading program shows you super effective methods and techniques to help your child develop phonemic awareness, and it is also a complete reading program that allows you to easily and effectively teach your child to read, and help your child develop fast and fluent reading skills

If you have a few minutes to spare, please carefully watch our presentation video below to learn more about our Children Learning Reading program.

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