Parents of young children are often told how important it is to expose their children to learning and reading as early as possible. Now, new research shows how beneficial this early learning really can be. Researchers examined children beginning in pre-school and again later when those children were 12 or 13, looking at the areas of math and reading. They found that pre-schoolers whose parents regularly read and talked about books with them had better language skills and reading comprehension at age 12. Surprisingly, increased exposure to reading at a young age also led students to perform better in math at age 12. This was especially true if early reading and learning featured conversations about numbers and counting. Interestingly, the reverse effect was also true—exposure to early math learning also helped improve verbal and language skills at age 12!

Another study examined the quality of early reading between children and their parents. Parents with a higher reading knowledge, meaning they have a better understanding of our language’s complexities and rules, were better able to provide feedback to their children and increase their verbal learning. These parents were also more likely to praise their children while reading instead of offering criticism. This finding was also true for teachers with high reading knowledge. The researchers underscored how important it is for early learners to receive positive feedback and additional instruction in the intricacies of reading so they can be successful, confident readers in the future.