The 500k Gift: Reading to Children for Fun and the Benefits - Raquel Edwards

March saw another World Book Day where children and parents alike competed to see who had the best costume. Celebrated each year, the day pays homage to authors and illustrators united by the innate knowledge that reading is fun. However, while World Book Day began with the aim of giving every child a book, for many today, it is all about the dressing up!

I am privileged to write for a publisher, In The Book, that felt strongly about this diversion from the reading aspect of World Book Day. 

We recently conducted a survey which showed only 18% of adults in the UK read to their children for 20 minutes a day. With so much excitement surrounding World Book Day, we were surprised to find this excitement didn’t translate into a passion for reading. And the benefits of reading to kids for 20 minutes or more a day are abundant.

You can read the full post from us here.

Did you know that a child’s brain develops the fastest up to the age of five than any other stage in their life? 

The 90% Reading Goal by Lynne Fielding highlights the link between basic literacy skills and the importance these basic requirements can have on lifetime earnings. It concludes that “a mom or dad, sister or brother, who reads twenty minutes a day with a child from birth can first increase their chance of high 3rd-grade reading skills and then of high school graduation.” 

In fact, a child who can read to 3rd grade level or above has a 77% greater chance of graduating high school.

The advantages of being able to read mean better concentration and focus for your child as soon as they enter the classroom. Children who read at home have a higher competency for learning in new environments and in turn, they’ll gain better communication and social skills to aid them in all walks of life.

Amazingly, further research from Fielding’s study indicates that those who are read to for 20 minutes a day up to age 5 will earn, on average, $500,000 more than those who are not (based on high school graduation figures and lifetime earnings.)

There have been no directly related studies in the UK surrounding this topic, but our recent survey shows that the majority of parents are unaware of such benefits. We are hoping to spread the word.

Beyond the academic and financial advantages of raising a reader, there are a number of developmental advantages too.

Our friend at Egmont, Consumer Insight Director, Alison David and author of Help Your Child Love Reading perhaps summarises the pleasure and benefits of reading to kids best:

“There are so many wonderful things that reading for pleasure brings to children beyond academic success: comfort and reassurance, confidence and security, relaxation, happiness and fun. It feeds their imagination, helps them to empathise, it even improves their sleeping patterns. And reading is a really important element of family life. It provides a connection between you and your child from the very early days through to teens and beyond. It’s a strong ‘glue’ for your relationship, bringing you closer together through the sharing of reading and stories.”


Griselda Heppel said…
This is such an important message, all praise to you for highlighting it. The statistic showing the difference in lifetime earnings caused by such a small thing - just 20 minutes, people! - is staggering. Of course many parents may lack confidence, especially if they struggle with reading themselves, and for them it’s not a little thing. But I’ve always found it the easiest way of entertaining children - you snuggle up together, somewhere restful, and just let the story someone else has done all the work of writing weave its magic. Ahhhh bliss.
Umberto Tosi said…
Kudos to you for writing this reminder to all parents and prospective parents. It is so true that reading to one's children has stellar benefits - as the studies you cite reaffirm. I read to my daughters as they grew up and they loved it. Not only that, it was gratifying to all of us - indeed, remains among my fondest memories.

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