London: If you wish to see your kids emerge as intelligent adults, start now to mind their reading skills. Researchers have found that early reading skills might positively affect later intellectual abilities.
“Early remediation of reading problems might aid in not only the growth of literacy, but also more general cognitive abilities that are of critical importance across the lifespan,” said Stuart Ritchie, a research fellow in psychology at University of Edinburgh in Britain.
“Children who do not receive enough assistance in learning to read may also be missing out on the important, intelligence-boosting properties of literacy,” Ritchie said.
For the study, researchers looked at 1,890 identical twins who were part of the “Twins Early Development Study”, an ongoing longitudinal study in Britain.
They examined scores from tests of reading and intelligence taken when the twins were aged seven, nine, 10, 12, and 16.
The researchers found that earlier differences in reading between the twins were linked to later differences in intelligence.
Reading was associated not only with measures of verbal intelligence (such as vocabulary tests) but with measures of nonverbal intelligence as well (such as reasoning tests).
The differences in reading that were linked to differences in later intelligence were present by age seven, which may indicate that even early reading skills affect intellectual development.
The study appeared in the journal Child Development.