Reading = pi r squared!

I spotted an interesting article on the BBC website the other day regarding reading. According to some recent research, readingchildren who read for pleasure are more likely to do better in maths (you can read the full article here).  Amongst other things it stated:

That reading for pleasure was more important to a child’s development than how educated their parents were


The total effect on children’s progress of reading often – reading newspapers at
age 16 and being a regular library user – was four times greater than the
advantage of having a university-educated parent

As a prolific reader myself, I am happy to state without the hint of a blush that I was always very good at maths and so, on this basis (no false modesty on this site!), I decided to test the premise of the article with some of my classes. I asked which students read for pleasure and what they read (I don’t consider comics to be ‘reading’, do you?) and asked what maths grades they generally achieved. Although the regular readers generally got high maths grades, students who only read comics (mostly the boys!) or didn’t read at all generally got fairly good maths grades too – which blew the theory out of the water!  Of course this anecdotal approach is hardly comparable to the full study mentioned in the article, but it provoked an interesting discussion in class.  Naturally I took advantage of this and did a fairly pushy sales pitch on the wonders of reading in the hope that I could persuade some of the I-have-to-read-books-at-school-so-why-would-I-read-them-at-home brigade  that it would give them other benefits, aside from pleasure.  As eyes started rolling in heads I realized that I was wasting my time: the internet and computer games, it would seem, provide them with all the emotional and intellectual succor they need, books take too long and are boring. Sigh!

The poster below sums up why I have had my head buried in a book since I was around 6 or 7 years old. My mission to convince the teenagers of Indonesia that reading is a wonderfully enriching pastime continues ….

Categories: Just Plain Blog

3 replies

  1. Wow – I wonder how the researchers arrived at the conclusion that reading for pleasure outweighed parental influence on a child’s development?

  2. Never give up on your quest. I work with dyslexic children, who are reluctant to read for obvious reasons, but they all make progress with patience and perseverance. Hang in there.

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