'Reading Gives Kids an Edge'1st Dec 13
ALEA Vice President Jo Padgham was quoted in an article by Brooke Lumsden in the Sydney Morning Herald dated 11 October 2013 in response to research which has suggested that a strong reading ability will enable children to absorb and understand new information and affect their attainment in all subjects. See extract below.
Jo Padgham, a school principal in the ACT and national vice-president of the Australian Literacy Educators' Association, says students who read a lot become learners who are risk-takers – who will have a go at learning. "Those who find reading easier at whatever age will read more and thus increase their vocabulary," she says. "Increased vocabulary is closely related to comprehension as children move through school."
The study also concluded that reading for pleasure was a more important factor in children's cognitive development between the ages of 10 and 16 than their parents' level of education.
"The combined effect on children's progress of reading books often, going to the library regularly and reading newspapers at 16, was four times greater than the advantage children gained from having a parent with a degree," Ms Padgham says.
Children who read often for pleasure are exposed to more complex language structures and vocabulary than they are exposed to in oral situations alone, she says. "This building of a rich language and vocabulary from books from an early age is crucial to reading development," she says.