Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Professor Finds Fiction-Readers Do Better In School

I’m pretty sure that this won’t be news to primary school teachers (elementary school) but an official study has found that kids who read for fun do better in school.

Southern Connecticut State University professor Louise Spear-Swerling found that kids who read fiction are better readers than kids who prefer non-fiction.

She also discovered that better readers are willing to try more complicated books (duh!) but was unable to say whether that was cause or effect—they read more difficult books because they could understand them, or, they could understand them because they were better readers.

Heightened reading skills seem to appear early in a child’s life. By sixth grade, the students who find reading more difficult, may avoid complicated books to spare themselves frustration, she said.

“There’s a huge interest in how we can improve reading. Reading is the key to academic success. Kids who read more do better academically. Those who do not, don’t,” she said.

Unfortunately, the children in the study seemed to confirm what some reading experts and social scientists call the “Matthew effect.” In practice, this means that good readers will become better readers, while those with difficulty reading will only sink lower over time. Or so some think.

To me, the obvious answer would be to encourage every child to read more books!

Helen Woodall

Helen is available to line edit and/ or content edit fiction and non-fiction. Rates on application.


Janis said...

I agree.

We read constantly with our four-year-old, and it's really helped with her communication skills. Plus, she has great word recognition for her age.

And thanks to the wonderful Dr. Seuss, she knows her left from her right (I still have issues).

Helen Woodall: Freelance Editing said...

I agree. Dr Seuss deserves every penny he's earned from his books. They're absolutely brilliant!