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Reading improves brain growth in children: a new study proves it

The scientific community has provided further proof of the benefits of reading on cognitive development. In fact, it has been shown that children who, from a very young age (from the age of 3) have started reading for pleasure, perform better on cognitive tests in adolescence.

The study was conducted by experts from the universities of Cambridge and Warwick, and published in the journal Psychological Medicine, the study involved over 10,000 young adolescents. It was measured that 12 hours per week was the optimal amount of reading and that this healthy habit is linked to a better brain structure.

What finally emerged was a strong link between reading for pleasure at an early age and a good performance in adolescence on cognitive tests measuring factors such as verbal learning, memory and language development, as well as in school achievement.

Freepik
Reading improves brain growth
The scientific community has provided further proof of the benefits of reading on cognitive development. In fact, it has been shown that children who start reading for pleasure from a very young age (from the age of 3) perform better on cognitive tests in adolescence.
Freepik
The study
The study was conducted by experts from the universities of Cambridge and Warwick, and published in the journal 'Psychological Medicine', the study involved over 10,000 young adolescents. It was measured that 12 hours per week was the optimal amount of reading and that this healthy habit is linked to a better brain structure.
Freepik
The type of analysis conducted on the subjects
The research team studied a wide range of data, such as cognitive tests, mental and behavioural assessments and brain scans, and then compared children who had started reading for pleasure at a fairly early age with those who started doing so later than the age of nine (or who were not really into reading at all). The analyses also took into account many other factors, including socio-economic status. Half of the sample had spent between three and ten years reading for pleasure, and half had not.
Freepik
The results
What finally emerged was a strong link between reading for pleasure at an early age and good performance in adolescence on cognitive tests measuring factors such as verbal learning, memory and language development, as well as in school achievement. The young readers, once they entered adolescence, were also found to have better psychological well-being, calculated according to a series of clinical scores and reports from parents and teachers, showing fewer signs of stress and depression in youth, as well as greater alertness and fewer behavioural problems (aggression is extremely low in these subjects). Children who started reading earlier in adolescence also tend to spend less time in front of screens (such as TV, smartphones or tablets) and sleep longer.
Freepik
The words of the author of the study
This is the final comment of Barbara Sahakian of the University of Cambridge and author of the study: "Reading is linked to important developmental factors in children, improving their cognition, mental health and brain structure, which are cornerstones for future learning and well-being.
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19/04/2024
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