Early Childhood Reading Benefits Adolescent Performance and Wellbeing

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The research of over 10,000 young teenagers in the US found that kids who start reading for enjoyment early in life typically do better on cognitive assessments and exhibit higher psychological conditions when they reach adolescence. 12 hours per week spent on literature was found to be what is needed by UK and Chinese researchers, and this has been linked to better neurological function, which may assist in clarifying the findings. 

A vital and delightful childhood hobby is reading for pleasure. Read is a taught skill that is gained and improved by deliberate study over time, in contrast with hearing and language use, which develop quickly and effortlessly in young children. 

EurekAlert Reported that Our minds change between adolescence and childhood, making it an essential period to set up behaviors that promote intellectual growth and advance a healthy brain.  However, it is still unclear whether encouraging kids to pick up reading from a young age will have any effect on their development of the brain, cognition, or mental health in the future. 

Data from the US-based Adolescent Brain and Cognitive Development (ABCD) cohort, which enrolled over 10,000 young adolescents, was investigated by researchers from Fudan University in China, the schools of Cambridge and Warwick in the UK, and the University of Cambridge in the US to learn more about this. 

The team compared children who began to read for pleasure at a relatively young age (that is, between two as well as nine years old) against those who started later or not at all. The analysis included psychological interviews, tests for cognition, mental and behavioral assessments, and brain scans. Numerous significant characteristics, including socioeconomic level, were adjusted for in the analyses. 

Nearly half (48%) of the total 10,243 participants in the study had little or no experience reading for pleasure, or they just started reading for pleasure later in childhood. The remaining fifty percent had read for enjoyment for three to 10 years. 

The researchers discovered a direct correlation between early enjoyment of reading and later success on cognitive tests measuring language acquisition, recall, and speech growth, and academic accomplishment. As determined by a variety of clinical scores and comments from educators and parents, these kids also had better mental health. They displayed less symptoms of depression and anxiety, as well as greater concentration and fewer behavioral issues like aggression and rule breaking. 

In their teens, adolescents who began to read for enjoyment earlier as well were more likely to spend less time on screens, such as viewing TV or using a smartphone or tablet, during the week and on the weekends. They also preferred to sleep for longer periods of time. 

When the researchers examined MRI scans of the teenage cohort, they discovered that those who took part who had started reading for enjoyment at a young age displayed slightly greater total areas of the brain and amounts, including in specific brain regions that are crucial for cognitive functions. Other brain areas that were different in this group included those that have been linked to better conduct, mental health, and attention in the past. 

The University of Warwick in the UK and the Fudan University in Shanghai, China’s Professor Jianfeng Feng, said: “We advise parents to give it their best to instill a love of reading in their children from early on in life. If done correctly, this will provide children with joy and fulfillment in addition to assisting in their long-term growth and encouraging reading habits, both of which may be advantageous in later life. 



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