Study says kids who read every day have a 'million word' advantage over their peers

I’m sure your toddler love all those Peppa Pig and Cocomelon marathons, though nothing is as good for both you and your child as reading to them. It’s just you, your child, and the spectacular world of children’s books and literature. Plus, it’s probably way less annoying than listening to the Cocomelon intro all day, right?

You’re going to love this next bit then!

If you happen to be one of those parents trying to raise a book-loving child, then you’re on the right track. Reading to a Pre-K age child, supposing your books of choice have a diverse word selection, makes them a whole lot more literate compared to kids of the same age who aren’t read to.

Pixabay Source: Pixabay

But don’t take my word for it, take a look at the published study about it instead!

The secret lies in word exposure, which was one of several key factors that this study led by Jessica Logan looked into. You may hear the term “word gap” used a lot here, so it’s best to give you a summary of what that is.

In simple terms, the word gap is the difference in the amount of words that children learn by a certain age, and how that differs between different kids depending on their background.

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One thing that can really make that difference is a thing called “lexical diversity”, a.k.a word variety.

Makes sense, doesn’t it? The more different words your child is hearing from you, the more of those they’ll learn, even if they don’t realize it.

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Shockingly, about 25% of parents and caregivers don’t read to their kids. While that leaves 75% who do, 25% is still a pretty big number of people. That’s a quarter of all kids who are trailing behind in the reading and writing department.

What could be making that difference, though? Maybe parents of this generation just don’t have it as easy?

Pixabay Source: Pixabay

No parent should have to choose between their work and their kids, surely. It’s always unpleasant and upsetting when you’re forced to spend more time managing those emails or flipping burgers than stay home with your kid.

But feeding them and paying the bills does take priority, doesn’t it?

Though whenever you do have that extra time to spend with your kids, try and spend it by reading to them. Every little reading session you have with them could mean an easier and more fun time for them when they reach kindergarten!

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The study used 60 commonly read children’s books to estimate just how often your kids are exposed to new words. 1 picture book every day would amount to about 78,000 words a year. Seems like we underestimated how far children’s books can go, huh?

It keeps going too!

In the 5 years before they’re off to kindergarten, they’d have been exposed to about 1.4 million words as estimated by the study. Your child can retain a whole lot more info than you think!

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So if you’re parenting a toddler and have plans for them to go to school, you can do them a massive favor and build up their literacy with a simple reading session. That million word gap doesn’t create itself.

It could also be a lot smaller of a gap if more kids were read to.

Toddler books may seem like they’re just there to take a few dollars out your wallet and sit on a shelf, but nothing could be further from the truth!

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Source: [National Library of Medicine, Science Daily]