12 Feb 2012 2 Comments
Continuing with this month’s theme touting the benefits of reading aloud to your children, a report from the international Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development recently examined the long-term impact of parental support on literacy and found a strong link between reading aloud to young children and later teenage reading abilities.
It also found that things like a family dinner and quality parent/child time make a positive impact when it comes to academics.
Based on teenagers in 14 developed countries, the study found that active parental involvement during the early years of school was a significant trigger for developing children’s reading skills that would carry through until they were teenagers. On average, teenagers whose parents had read aloud to young children were at least six months ahead in reading levels at the age of 15.
Discounting social and economic differences, the study found children with early support remained ahead in reading. The report also found that parents did not have to be particularly well-educated themselves for this impact to be achieved. What was important was that parents read books regularly with their children and that they talked about what they were reading together.
This parental involvement overrode other social disadvantages and in some countries could represent more than a year’s advantage in reading levels at the age of 15 compared with children whose parents rarely read books with them.
The study, which draws on data from the international Programme for International Student Assessment tests, also found a link between teenagers’ reading skills and continued engagement with their parents. Everyday family get-togethers, where parents and children talk, could influence school performance, says the research.
“Eating meals together around the table and spending time just talking with one’s children are also associated with significantly better student reading performance in school,” says the OECD report.