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Reading to young children: A head-start in life?

Listed author(s):
  • Kalb, Guyonne
  • van Ours, Jan C.

This paper investigates the importance of parents reading to their young children. Using Australian data we find that parental reading to children at age 4–5 has positive and significant effects on reading skills and cognitive skills (including numeracy skills) of these children at least up to age 10 or 11. The effects on skills more closely related to reading and language are larger than those on skills such as numeracy skills. However, all findings in relation to reading and other cognitive skills are persistent and robust to a wide range of sensitivity analyses. Although reading to children is also correlated with children's non-cognitive skills, after accounting for the endogeneity of reading to children, no causal effect remains.

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File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0272775714000156
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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Economics of Education Review.

Volume (Year): 40 (2014)
Issue (Month): C ()
Pages: 1-24

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Handle: RePEc:eee:ecoedu:v:40:y:2014:i:c:p:1-24
DOI: 10.1016/j.econedurev.2014.01.002
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/econedurev

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  1. A. L. Mancini & C. Monfardini & S. Pasqua, 2011. "On Intergenerational Transmission of Reading Habits in Italy: Is a Good Example the Best Sermon?," Working Papers wp792, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
  2. Sandra E. Black & Paul J. Devereux & Kjell G. Salvanes, 2005. "The More the Merrier? The Effect of Family Size and Birth Order on Children's Education," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(2), pages 669-700.
  3. Canoy, Marcel & van Ours, Jan C. & van der Ploeg, Frederick, 2006. "The Economics of Books," Handbook of the Economics of Art and Culture, Elsevier.
  4. Petra E. Todd & Kenneth I. Wolpin, 2007. "The Production of Cognitive Achievement in Children: Home, School, and Racial Test Score Gaps," Journal of Human Capital, University of Chicago Press, vol. 1(1), pages 91-136.
  5. Silles, Mary A., 2010. "The implications of family size and birth order for test scores and behavioral development," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 29(5), pages 795-803, October.
  6. Timothy G. Conley & Christian B. Hansen & Peter E. Rossi, 2012. "Plausibly Exogenous," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 94(1), pages 260-272, February.
  7. Flavio Cunha & James J. Heckman, 2008. "Formulating, Identifying and Estimating the Technology of Cognitive and Noncognitive Skill Formation," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 43(4).
  8. Robert Haveman & Barbara Wolfe, 1995. "The Determinants of Children's Attainments: A Review of Methods and Findings," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 33(4), pages 1829-1878, December.
  9. Feinstein, Leon & Symons, James, 1999. "Attainment in Secondary School," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 51(2), pages 300-321, April.
  10. Mario Fiorini & Michael P. Keane, 2014. "How the Allocation of Children's Time Affects Cognitive and Noncognitive Development," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 32(4), pages 787 - 836.
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