Drop Everything and Read!

It’s DEAR Time! Drop Everything And Read! Our kindergarten teachers had it right all along. They told us to read as much as possible because it will help us become smarter and more successful. Now we have scientific evidence backing these claims.

Reading is a fundamental skill many people take for granted and it is generally thought of as a “cognitive process of understanding speech that is written down” (Mol & Bus, 2011). This relationship between speech and reading means that the more we read the more we improve our speaking and communication skills. This connection starts very early in a child’s life with pre-literacy skills. This set of skills includes things like knowing about the alphabet, rhyming, print directionality, etc. When we share and read books with children even as young as two years old we can accelerate their language development and make reading a fun and enjoyable experience so kids will continue to want to read as they grow up. This is somewhat of a snowball effect because the more children are exposed to reading, the more enjoyable it becomes, and the more opportunities for their language abilities to grow. Double the amount of children who are read to at home will become the better readers at school compared the children who are not read to at home (Bus et al., 1995). The better readers will have bigger vocabularies and greater comprehension skills, and more of an aptitude for reading. The cycle continues as children grow up. These keen readers will keep honing their reading and language skills as they progress in their education from elementary school all the way up to college or university, and this relationship only gets stronger. An article published in 2011, looked at the benefits of reading for leisure for children in preschool up to university. They found an ever increasing relationship between the time students spent reading in their spare time and their reading and language skills, academic achievement, and intelligence as they progressed through their educational path. This means two things: first, to maximize the benefits gained from reading, we should to start early as possible; second, we receive benefits from reading across the lifespan so it’s never too late to start!

So drop everything get reading because whether it’s for yourself or for your child, the benefits are endless!

For more information see these two articles:

Mol, S. E., & Bus, A. G. (2011). To read or not to read: a meta-analysis of print exposure from infancy to early adulthood. Psychological bulletin, 137(2), 267.

Bus, A. G., Van Ijzendoorn, M. H., & Pellegrini, A. D. (1995). Joint book reading makes for success in learning to read: A meta-analysis on intergenerational transmission of literacy. Review of educational research,65(1), 1-21.