The ever-growing trend and desire for screen time has driven a wedge between reading for pleasure, and school children during their spare time. Given that it is now known that reading regularly increases the understanding of maths, there really should be a huge focus on reading and comprehension at school and at home. Reading increases fluency and vocabulary, it opens up experiences, ideas, and increases the ability to absorb new information and concepts. This in turn helps grow the brain, develops focus, concentration and comprehend maths.
It helps of course if you read to your child. A recent study from the Kids & Family Reading Report commissioned by Scholastic found that younger children tend to read more than teens, 80 percent of 6-8 year olds said they loved or liked reading compared to just 43 percent of 15-17 year olds.
So where has the love gone? Yes children become more social as they move into their teens and reading can often see a decline, but interest in reading today could do with a boost. In my opinion as a parent there should be essential reading for pleasure but also children need to be interested in what they’re reading, so they may require assistance in finding their niche if they’ve not yet done so.
Less than a quarter of teens read regularly and yet much of their spare time is taken up using devices of some sort. A study carried out by University of Cambridge found that teens who had an hour a day on screens in their spare time dropped by the equivalent of two GCSE grades. Which only brings us to the conclusion that screens hamper school grades.
Literacy is key within the school curriculum. Higher literacy skills increases self-esteem and confidence, equalling a far better foundation for maths. A solid reading comprehension equips a child with the skills to tackle maths challenges with confidence.
A study of schools across the country have taken part in a trial as part of ‘philosophy for children’ study which involved pupil-led discussions on truth, fairness, kindness and bullying. This trial which involved over 3,000 pupils in 48 state primary schools took place over the course of a year, and saw a small but significant improvement in maths and literacy. Given the subject matter, it enables everyone in the class to have a voice and engage, an opinion on what they think and feel, that is bound for confidence.
Confidence is one of the keys to succeeding in maths, and so is engagement. Confidence can grow from increased reading comprehension. So if we encourage children that reading will benefit them is so many ways, and probably to their surprise improve their maths skills, it will make for a good start. We do however need to think of ways to conquer the distraction and habit of screen time which seems so much to be getting in the way of progression for many children today.