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Reading Enhances Academic Performance

Update Date: Sep 08, 2012 09:17 AM EDT

The experiences of  children these days are much different than what it was for the older generation. While there was a time when books used to be the only source of knowledge and entertainment, reading books is last on the list for modern children.

There are so many other activities crowding the lives of children today, that reading inadvertently has become their last priority, a new study suggests.

According to a National Literacy Trust study of 21,000 children and teenagers, they are seldom reading novels, comics, magazines and websites. Sept 8 is observed as International Literacy Day, all over the world.

During the research, it was found that while some of them said they enjoyed reading, 17 percent of them said it would embarrass them if they were caught reading a book by a friend.

The findings show that there is a need to help young people develop a love of reading, a government spokesman said, according to BBC.

Half of children quizzed, did admit to enjoying reading, but then, it was found that just 3 in 10 youngsters had the habit of reading daily in their own time.

Some 22% said they almost never read in their own time, while 54% said they preferred watching television to reading, the report said.

According to researchers, there is "a clear issue with children's leisure time with many children enjoying reading but pushing it out in favour of other activities."

"The fact that children are reading less than in 2005 signals a worrying shift in young people's literacy habits. We are calling for the Government to back a campaign to halt this reading decline and to give children time to read in their daily lives," Jonathan Douglas, director of National Literacy Trust said.

"We need to make reading irresistible. We want to call on families and professionals working with children and young people to make at least ten minutes in their day dedicated to reading."

The report highlighted the importance of children making time to read since reading apart from academic books has been linked to higher academic performance.

According to the report, those who read outside class everyday were 13 times likelier to read above the expected level for their own age.

"The findings of this survey come as no surprise and shows that we need to continue our drive to encourage young people to develop a love of reading. In a world of so many distractions for young minds, the place of literature is more important than ever," a spokesman for the Department for Education said according to BBC.

"Children need to master the basics of reading as early as possible in primary school so they can then go on to explore magical and powerful books such as Private Peaceful, Harry Potter, and, in good time, books such as Lord of the Flies, Animal Farm and those by Charles Dickens. That's why we've introduced a short and simple phonics check at the end of Year 1 to make sure children have mastered the basics."

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