Are today's young readers tomorrow's leaders?
Children who have above average reading skills may develop higher intelligence as they grow older, according to British researchers from the University of Edinburgh and King's College London.
The study: Led by Stuart Ritchie, a research fellow in psychology at Edinburgh, the team analyzed data on 1,890 identical twins from Great Britain. The children were given reading and intelligence tests at ages 7, 9, 10, 12 and 16. Since each set of twins shared the same genetic makeup and home environment, any differences between them had to be due to factors they didn't share, such as the quality of their teachers or friends who encouraged reading, reports HealthDay News.
- Early differences in reading skills between the twins were linked to later differences in intelligence, including depth of vocabulary and reasoning skills.
- Enhanced reading abilities that were evident by age 7 were linked to higher intelligence later, suggesting that even early reading skills can impact a child's intellectual development.
- This may explain why children--and not just twins--in the same family can have different levels of intelligence.
The message to parents and teachers is clear. "Children who don't receive enough assistance in learning to read may also be missing out on the important, intelligence-boosting properties of literacy," said Ritchie.
The study findings were reported in the journal Child Development.
--From the Editors at Netscape