New research published in the Child and Family Blog suggests that children read better if their parents believe in their abilities.
The study found that parents who don't think their children are good readers tend to make less of an effort to help them read. Instead, they believe their child's skills are fixed and that they can't help much.
According to Professor Simon Calmar Andersen at Aarhus University, Denmark, the "fixed mind-set" is where parents go wrong. The more children read the better they get, whether they were good readers early on or not. When parents are offered advice about how to help their child, reading greatly improves.
In fact, Professor Andersen found that parental support is more beneficial than classroom support, especially for boys. It's also a lot less costly. This study might lead some educators to reconsider how they fund reading supports in schools.
I'm not sure about other parents, but this study seems to have its flaws. When one of my kids was learning to read, the last thing he wanted was me helping him. I knew he was smart and I tried very hard to help, but I'm not an expert; I have no experience teaching this skill.
My son and I would end up frustrated with each other and crying. I was afraid he'd hate reading because it was such a negative experience.
That's when I handed the job over to his teachers. They gave my son extra help with a reading specialist at school. Before long, he was reading. I still read to him every night, but that's what his teachers told me to do—make it a pleasurable experience and leave the tough parts to them.
If this study is somehow beneficial to other parents and school boards, that's great. All I know is that the philosophy didn't work for me. Schools still need all the funding they can get.