Looking to Improve in Math? Add Reading.

We know from research that the more time a child spends reading, the more his or her reading ability is likely to improve. This makes sense; practice makes perfect. However, as teachers and researchers discover new truths about the different ways children think and learn, evidence shows us that the practice of reading may benefit students in ways that extend far beyond one’s ability to simply read a book faster, or with more comprehension.

According to a study by The University of London’s Institute of Education, children who read for fun are not only more likely to be better readers in general but also more successful in areas such as spelling, vocabulary and most surprisingly, math. In fact, reading and math may be more linked than one might imagine. The basic skills that are required to read a book overlap with many of the same fundamentals that are leveraged when solving a math problem. For instance, both subjects require the active use of memory, vocabulary, and imagination. Dr. Alice Sullivan, who led the IOE study, believes the reason for this is that having a “strong reading ability will enable children to absorb and understand new information and affect their attainment in all subjects”. 

A different study conducted by researchers at Arizona State University and the University of Wisconsin–Madison also looked at using reading comprehension to improve skills in mathematics. More specifically, they wanted to find out whether or not children’s math scores improved when they read more critically through mapping words and phrases. What they found was not that their reading strategy was supposed to replace current instructions in mathematics, but rather that reading allowed children to “ground mathematical symbols in real-world experience”. In other words, children who read more critically were able to create a better road map when it came to breaking down mathematic word problems.

For children of all ages, reading is critical to cognitive development. Whether it’s pertaining to language arts, social studies, or yes – even mathematics, the benefits of reading are immeasurable. It’s unacceptable that some children may never even have the opportunity to reap the benefits of reading simply because they don’t have access to quality books. At Read Notebooks, we believe we can do more to address this problem – and it starts with a notebook.



Emily Nevitt
Emily Nevitt