TopicsGrowth & DevelopmentUK & China: enjoyable reading from the start and cognitive development

UK & China: enjoyable reading from the start and cognitive development

Reading for pleasure from a young age has been shown to be beneficial for cognitive development.

Data from more than 10,000 young adolescents was used to compare those who began reading for pleasure between two and nine-years-old, against those who did so later, or not at all.

Researchers found those that began reading for pleasure earlier showed positive performance on cognitive tests that measured verbal learning, memory, speech development, and academic achievement.

They also exhibited better mental wellbeing, with fewer signs of stress or depression, improved attention, and fewer behavioural problems. Brain scans of these individuals even showed larger total brain areas and volumes particularly in regions that play critical cognitive function roles.

The optimal amount of time to spend reading as a child was around 12 hours a week, beyond which did not show additional benefits.

Professor Barbara Sahakian has said: ‘It’s widely accepted that [reading] inspires thinking and creativity, increases empathy and reduces stress … we found significant evidence that it’s linked to important developmental factors in children, improving their cognition, mental health, and brain structure.’

Image credit | Pixabay


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