Messy House, Messy Minds

Messy House, Messy Minds

Carrie McBride
Mar 19, 2009

Everyone's agreed that reading to children is important. It increases their vocabulary, sparks their imaginations and promotes a lifetime of independent reading. But are there other factors playing into the development of early reading skills - like how messy your house is? Maybe, say some researchers at Columbia's Teachers College.

A preliminary study of kindergarten and first graders found a correlation between early reading skills and household order in the homes with mothers whose reading skills were deemed to be above average. Children in these homes - not necessarily homes that could pass a white glove test or whose floors you could eat off - but those with less chaos and more order, had more expressive vocabularies, more phonics skills and performed better on the Woodcock Reading Mastery test.

Interestingly, for the children of moms with only average reading prowess, the factor that raised their reading skills was how much time they spent independently exploring books. We read about this study on Slate which explains some of the limitations of the study. It's an intriguing hypothesis and we'd be interested to see more studies about connections between the home environment and children's development. What do you think? Is there anything to this?

(Image via cafemama on Flickr)

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