Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Why Reading for Pleasure Makes Kids Smarter

A great article in The Guardian talks about how children who read for pleasure do better not only in vocabulary and spelling, but also mathematics. The article cites a study of 17,000 people, who The Guardian has interviewed over the years to gain insights into the different issues that affected participants' individual development. The article suggests two main reasons why pleasure readers excel over their peers.The first is that reading "introduces young people to new words", explaining their vocabulary success. The second is "that reading also introduces young people to new ideas."

I agree with both of these, but I think there is an even more compelling reason. Simply put, children master the skill of reading the more they read. Children who read when they don't have to, develop reading skills far greater than those who only read when they have to read. The greater the reading skills, the better the child will be able to understand and comprehend concepts in their text books. As a result, master readers have a greater ability to master other subjects.

Any other thoughts on why reading for fun makes kids smarter?

Image courtesy of jannoon028 /

Image courtesy of Ambro /



  1. I can't explain why this happens, but I've seen lots of examples. My grand daughter reads whatever she gets,...story books, news papers, prescriptions written by doctors and bits of papers from my waste paper basket, and I've discovered she takes less time in learning things. She has developed the love for reading since she was seven and now she's ten.

  2. It's a wonderful thing, isn't it? We've since that same thing in our children. The love for reading helps them excel in so many things.

  3. I can explain why this happens, children who read for pleasure have an innate ability to read, because most of traditional education is based on reading ability it is much easier for them (just as hitting a baseball is easier for someone with higher hand eye coordination). My first grade teacher chided my mother for teaching me how to read before I started school - but she hadn't, I had simply learned to read by listening to her read to me, but the whole reading program clearly showed that it was a mistake to expect all children to learn to read that way.