Independent UK by Ella Pickover July 2023

Reading for pleasure in early childhood can help youngsters perform better at school and boost their mental health as they enter teenage years, a study suggests.

The study of more than 10,000 children found that those who started reading for fun at a young age performed better at cognitive tests and showed improved “brain structure” in adolescence.

For “optimal” results, children should be reading for 12 hours every week, academics from the universities of Cambridge and Warwick in the UK, and Fudan University in China, found.

Their study, published in the journal Psychological Medicine, analysed data on the children, all from the US, including interviews, cognitive tests, mental and behavioural assessments and brain scans.

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