Curious Children Do Better in Math and Reading in Early Childhood

Math is not my strong suit, I’ll be the first to admit. It always felt like such a chore as a child, and it wasn’t presented as a fun and interesting subject! Plenty of kids struggle with math later in childhood and beyond. But a new study suggests that curiosity can impact how kids do in reading and math in early childhood. Curious children perform better in math and reading in early childhood, once again confirming that kids with a wide array of socio-emotional skills tend to do better in school.

According to a study posted in Pediatric Research, curious children better grasp reading and math concepts in early childhood.

The study was performed by researchers at the University of Michigan and led by Prachi Shah. It is the first of its kind to investigate a link between curiosity and academic success in early childhood. Researchers used data drawn from a national population-based study sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education. The Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Birth Cohort has followed thousands of children since birth, conducting interviews with their parents and assessing the children in home visits at 9 months and 2 years old. The kids were assessed again when they entered preschool and kindergarten. Researchers measured the math and reading skills of 6200 kids in kindergarten, in 2006 and 2007.

They found that curiosity impacted how the kids performed in these subjects in school. Curious children performed better in both reading and math.

Prachi Shah says, “Our results suggest that after controlling for other factors associated with higher achievement, curiosity continues to make a small but meaningful contribution to academic achievement.” In fact, curiosity was found to be just as important as effort when it came to achievement. This proved especially true in children who demonstrated an eagerness to learn. Researchers found no correlation between a child’s curiosity and their achievement and their gender or the effort they put forth.

Shah continues, “Our results suggest that while higher curiosity is associated with higher academic achievement in all children, the association of curiosity with academic achievement is greater in children with low socioeconomic status.”

It’s so important to nurture your child’s natural curiosity when and wherever you can. Curious children are a delight, and as it turns out, they may just perform better in school, too.

(Image: iStock/Nadezhda1906)

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