There have been numerous studies into how stimulus affects the development of young children. Academics have talked in the past about the Mozart effect, but modern consensus suggests that reading to a child aloud is the single best way to improve their reading ability and more generally their academic performance.
It is interesting to compare the issue reading during early years to the Mozart effect because it can often be difficult for parents to understand which actions will cut through and truly have a positive impact on their child’s learning.
The Mozart effect, a phenomenon discovered by researchers at the UC Irvine during the early 90’s, explains that college students who listened to a Mozart sonata prior to taking a test outperformed those who did not.
Despite the research received widespread attention within politics and the media, it had slightly inconclusive results and no research was ever conducted on young children to affirm that Mozart effect boosts the brainpower of a child.
In 1999, researchers at Appalachian State University found evidence to the contrary when running the same tests, while those involved during the original study at UC Irvine admitted that there was no evidence to suggest it could improve a baby’s intelligence.
Reading to young children is by consensus, one of the most important ways in which you can help their development. ‘Learning to Read, Reading to Learn’, a paper published by the National Center To Improve the Tools of Educators, explains that children who struggle with reading or are late to it, will also come late to mathematics, history and current events, which can exponentially damage their academic growth. Therefore, they place a large emphasis on parents reading to children from a young age, so they are able to understand and comprehend the new and varied information they will become exposed to when they get to school.
Moreover, Pearson an educational publisher, argues that until certain age parents are a more influential educator in a young child’s life than their teachers. They even suggest that whether a child has been read to at home is a greater determinant of their attainment in school than their social or economic background.
Reading is an incredibly valuable tool and young people cannot explore their potential without it. Nevertheless, many children in areas of high deprivation have no access to books or education at all, and that is why World Literacy Foundation strive to ensure that every young individual regardless of geographic location and socioeconomic status has the opportunity to read and improve their life chances. You can join us in our fight against illiteracy, learn more about our projects here: https://worldliteracyfoundation.org/projects/
Author: William Winter
WLF Volunteer – UK