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Reading for pleasure in early childhood helps cognition and mental health

Reading for pleasure in early childhood helps cognition and mental health

Children who have a reading habit have fewer mental health problems, such as depression and stress, as well as more interest in school; This is the conclusion of a new study

Barbara Giovanni

31 minutes ago

Reading for pleasure in early childhood helps with cognitive development and mental health

Photo: Jonathan Borba/Unsplash/Reproduction

Early childhood is a critical period for human brain development. At this stage, a healthy lifestyle can enhance cognition and well-being during other periods of life, such as adolescence and adulthood. It can also provide resilience in times of stress.

And now a study published in the journal Psychiatry found that children who read for pleasure in early childhood tend to have better mental health and cognitive performance during adolescence.

Understand the research

Researchers from the UK and China analyzed data from the Adolescent Brain and Cognitive Development (ABCD) project. This is an American research program that includes more than 10 thousand participants of different ethnicities and socioeconomic status.

Of the youth analyzed, nearly half began reading in early childhood. On the other hand, the other half either did not have this habit or started it later in life.

In addition to habits readingThe researchers also analyzed clinical interviews, cognitive tests, mental and behavioral assessments and brain scans.

The aim was to compare the results of those who started reading for pleasure between the ages of 2 and 9 with those who started reading later – or who did not yet have the habit.

As a result, the study found that reading for pleasure in early childhood was associated with better scores on cognitive assessments.

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Children who read for pleasure also have larger cortical areas in several areas of the brain, including frontal areas, which are linked to cognition and mental health.

This condition has also been associated with better behavior in adolescence. Children who started reading early had more interest in school, and were less aggressive and rule-breaking.

Reading for pleasure in childhood was also associated with fewer mental health problems, such as depression and stress. Another important point is that these children also spend less time on electronic devices.

Reading enhances cognition

It is already known that language learning is an essential factor in healthy brain development. Reading and discussing books is part of this process.

Moreover, reading is also a building block of the cognitive system. It is important for functions such as memory, planning, and self-control, as well as social intelligence.

This way is encouraging reading For example, it can help treat young children with some of the negative effects on their cognitive development during COVID-19 lockdowns.

Overall, the findings also have important implications for parents, teachers, and policy makers in promoting reading for pleasure in young children.

Later, in the future, the researchers intend to conduct investigations using data from other countries, including those that are under development.