National

Reading improves children’s math skills, Japan survey finds

JIJI

Children who spend a lot of time reading perform better in academic subjects, particularly mathematics, than those who do not, a private-sector survey has revealed.

The Benesse Educational Research and Development Institute, which carried out the survey, said it believes that reading “helps enhance children’s capabilities of precisely understanding given questions and conditions” for solving them.

The survey was conducted between August 2016 and December 2017 on 42,696 fifth-graders at elementary schools nationwide.

The institute, an affiliate of education service provider Benesse Holdings Inc., analyzed the number of books children read using the firm’s digital book service and the results of their academic achievement tests.

The survey showed that children who read 10 or more books saw their average deviation value in four subjects — Japanese, mathematics, science and social studies — rise by 1.9 points, while those who did not read any books registered a 0.7-point fall in the average score.

The deviation scores rose in all subjects in accordance with the amount of their reading. The gap in scores between children who read many books and those who did not read any was notable in mathematics, standing at 4.8 points, according to the survey.

The survey also showed that reading contributes more greatly to improving the academic skills of children with low initial capabilities than those of advanced children.