Reading novels improves teenagers’ literacy, major UCL study finds

Reading novels really DOES improve teenagers’ literacy, major UCL study finds

  • Researchers found novels were more beneficial than comics and magazines 
  • Novels require the reader to ‘digest large amounts of long and continuous text’ 
  • Books may also help by forcing youngsters to ‘switch off from other distractions’ 

Any parent or teacher will know how important reading is for improving literacy among youngsters.

But it turns out that it’s what teenagers are reading which makes a big difference for their development.

Researchers found novels were far more beneficial than comics and magazines.

Novels could be more challenging because they require readers to ‘digest large amounts of long and continuous text’ (stock)


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They suggested the reason may be that novels could be more challenging because they require readers to ‘digest large amounts of long and continuous text’. It also may be that the format forces youngsters to ‘switch off from other distractions’.

University College London Institute of Education researchers analysed data from more than 250,000 teenagers aged 15, across 35 industrialised countries including the UK.

Data showed teenagers who read fiction had reading skills more than six months ahead of peers who almost never read fiction books.

University College London Institute of Education researchers analysed data from more than 250,000 teenagers aged 15, across 35 industrialised countries including the UK (stock image)

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