Reading to young children: A head-start in life?

G. Kalb, J.C. van Ours

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

73 Citations (Scopus)


This paper investigates the importance of parents reading to their young children. Using Australian data we find that parental reading to children at age 4–5 has positive and significant effects on reading skills and cognitive skills (including numeracy skills) of these children at least up to age 10 or 11. The effects on skills more closely related to reading and language are larger than those on skills such as numeracy skills. However, all findings in relation to reading and other cognitive skills are persistent and robust to a wide range of sensitivity analyses. Although reading to children is also correlated with children's non-cognitive skills, after accounting for the endogeneity of reading to children, no causal effect remains.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-24
JournalEconomics of Education Review
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2014


  • Reading to children
  • reading skills
  • other cognitive skills


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