Children will be able to read more, according to research published in the journal Nature Neuroscience.
The research found that a child’s ability to read comprehension of complex sentences is enhanced as he or she gets older.
The study, which looked at a group of 5- to 12-year-olds, found that when children were told that their ability to learn was greater as they grew older, they tended to believe their ability was greater, said study lead author Andrew Dutta, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of New Hampshire.
That was particularly true when asked how much more they would learn with a reading speed of 4.3 words per second.
The researchers then asked whether children who believed their ability had increased with age were more likely to believe it was greater when the children were asked about the amount of information they were able to comprehend at any one time.
Children who believed they were more proficient with a certain type of sentence were less likely to attribute their increased ability to their greater comprehension of that type of sentences, and more likely the children believed that they had been reading longer with a faster reading speed.
While children who were able read with a higher reading speed were more willing to attribute the increase in their ability, children who reported that they were less able to make sense of their comprehension were less willing to accept the idea that their comprehension had increased.
The findings suggest that as children get older, their ability in general is more robust than it was in childhood, DutTA said.
Dutta and his colleagues studied a group who were all at least 4 years old and had previously completed a test to measure children’s reading abilities.
The test involved a series of questions that asked them to choose one of four different words, such as “yes,” “no,” “stop,” and “take a breath.”
After a few minutes of asking, the children who had previously scored high on the test were shown pictures of words such as an “a” for “a lot,” “a”, “two” for a “little,” “five” for five, and “a, two, five” for two.
When asked to rate their comprehension of each of the four words, the students who had been tested younger were more apt to attribute this increase in comprehension to their older age, as did children who scored higher on the literacy test.
The children who experienced an increase in the amount they were being asked to read were also more likely than the children in the older age group to attribute that increase to the increase of comprehension, the researchers found.
The younger children in that group also tended to attribute an increase of their ability with an increase that they perceived as being more accurate.
The authors concluded that, in general, children’s ability is more resilient to changes in their reading speed as they get older.