Building Success in Reading & The Matthew Effect

Success in Reading

Simply put: Reading is a gift. … & to love to read is even better 😉

Parents often ask why some children are better readers than others … and of course to this there is no simple answer.

Recently, however a colleague came to me with the following article about something called “The Matthew Effect” (

“The “Matthew Effect” is a term coined by Keith Stanovich, a psychologist who has done extensive research on reading and language disabilities. The “Matthew Effect” refers to the idea that in reading (as in other areas of life), the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.” (source:

Simply put, this theory states that children who are successful in reading (acquiring skills) early on often move steadily ahead, while those who struggle fall further and further behind. Children who are successful enjoy reading more. They read more, practice more, learn more, love it more. Those who struggle, dislike the experience more and more, and end up reading less and less. These children fall further and further behind.

Ok, so now what? What if your child is not enjoying or achieving the success in reading that you would like to see? Where do you go from here?

Well, here are just a few steps along the road to encouraging successful, life-long readers:

1. Read to/with your child all the time: at home, in the car, at the grocery store, etc.
2. Sing songs, read poems … expose her the the rhythm and rhyme of language.
3. Be a role model! Read! Read! Read!
4. Write little, lovely notes for your child to read. Leave them everywhere: Under his pillow, in his drawer, under his shoe or in his lunchbox.
5. What are your child’s interests? Once you know this, provide lots of reading materials base on this theme(s) e.g. books, magazines, comics, posters, etc. Whatever gets him looking at, and engaged in print.
6. Engage in activities that require reading together, e.g. games, cooking, reading maps, following the directions for a model, etc.
7. Buy your child a subscription to her favourite magazine.
8. Keep the lines of communication pen between you and your child’s teacher.
9. Early (sensible) diagnostic assessment.
10. Whenever and whenever possible: Individualized instruction. Know your child’s strengths and needs.
11. Have fun reading and let it show!!! Laugh, learn new things, be amazed!

Reading is a gift.

Read all about “The Matthew Effect”:


2 responses to “Building Success in Reading & The Matthew Effect

  1. >I love these posts! I'm learning so much!Tanya

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