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Does it matter what children read? New evidence using longitudinal census data from Spain

Jerrim, J; Lopez-Agudo, LA; Marcenaro-Gutierrez, OD; (2020) Does it matter what children read? New evidence using longitudinal census data from Spain. Oxford Review of Education 10.1080/03054985.2020.1723516.

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Abstract

It has long been thought that encouraging children to read is likely to be beneficial for the development of their literacy skills. However, a lot less attention has been paid to the issue of whether what students read matters for their academic progress. This paper therefore considers the association between the frequency young people read five different types of text (comics, short stories, books, newspapers and magazines) and their scores on standardised reading and mathematics tests. Drawing upon large longitudinal census data from the largest administrative region in Spain, we find that frequency of reading comics, newspapers and magazines is not associated with the development of children’s cognitive skills. In contrast, there is clear and consistent evidence of a positive and increasing association between the frequency children read books and their academic achievement. We consequently conclude that recommended reading time for children should be focused upon the time they spend reading books and not other material.

Type: Article
Title: Does it matter what children read? New evidence using longitudinal census data from Spain
DOI: 10.1080/03054985.2020.1723516
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1080/03054985.2020.1723516
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Social Sciences, Education & Educational Research, Books, short novels, reading skills, primary education, secondary education, ENGAGEMENT, LITERACY, STUDENTS
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Social Research Institute
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10095822
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