I get this question thrown at me, a lot, by my 10-year-old son along with grunts, humphs and eye rolling (he is already adept at teenage communicating methods) when I remind him to take out his reading book. Since he is the son of a teacher and a closet academic, a simple ‘because it is good for you,’ is not going to fly, so I decided to search for some evidence to support my claim and I was thrilled to come across the following:
It will make you smarter in class– This as a teacher I know, and can provide endless examples of how, but a study which measured this empirically would definitely help my case. The renowned Institute of Education, U.K., have been conducting a longitudinal study since 1970, and the data collected from it has shown that children between 10 and 16 years of age who read for pleasure compared to those who didn’t made more progress in maths, vocabulary and spelling. Yes, maths as well! Added bonus!
You will be happier– The National Literacy Trust last year reported on a study that they had conducted on over 40,000 children studying in the UK between the ages of 8 and 18. It stated that those children who enjoyed doing reading and writing activities in their free time had better levels of mental wellbeing than those who didn’t. Interestingly boys who enjoyed reading and writing had better levels of wellbeing than girls who enjoyed these activities. Right sonny boy, not only do you have to read, but you have to write, and also enjoy it!
You will have a brighter future the more books we have in the house– A study conducted by the Australian National University and University of Nevada found that those having more books in their house at the age of 16 lead to better literacy, numeracy and IT skills in adult years, regardless of how many tertiary education courses they had done, or how much reading they did as an adult. Okay, so not a great study to get your child to read but at least now you can go on book buying splurge without any guilt! FYI – Estonia has the largest number of books per household.