How Reading Bedtime Stories to Your Child Improves Their Maths Scores

Ireyimika Oyegbami

Having a maths guru in your child is a thing of pride for a lot of parents; on the other hand, the anxiety that parents feel when their children repetitively fail their sums spreads across the divide.

According to a study reported on YahooParenting, reading a bedtime math-related story to your children will enhance their arithmetic score and also calm parents’ anxiety in helping the child with her maths homework. See how:

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Calm down parents, it’s story time!

In the study from the University of Chicago, over 500 first graders and their parents interacted with an app called ‘Bedtime Math’. Bedtime Math is an engaging math story that both the kids and their parents had to work together to unravel. It was found that regularly reading the brief mathematical story problems enhanced children’s math scores and helped to calm the anxiety parents previously felt about helping their kids with their math homework.

Susan Levine, co-author of the research explained, “Stories are very interesting to kids, and parents feel comfortable reading kids stories, this is something they normally do.” She explained further that adapting math into this night time ritual feels natural by adding, “The stories show kids that math has a purpose — the stories are engaging and the math is used to answer problems that are interesting to kids.”

Words matter in mathematics

The researchers also say that the frequency with which parents chat about shape and numbers with their 4 to 5 year olds enhances the child’s grasp of foundational number concepts. Mathematical talk also predicts her spatial thinking and this is an important component of mathematical success.

Hence, parents are advised to use words like circle, tall, edge, and corner when talking about spatial features of objects with their kids. Sian L. Beilock, another co-author of the study, says it is the interaction between parent and child during the story that really allows the learning to happen. Asking your kids’ math related questions such as, ‘If you have two cookies and I give you one more, how many will you have?’ is important for kids’ math achievement.

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One math story per week works wonders

It was also discovered that both children and parent experience positive results even if they didn’t use the app every night. Families who read a math-related story at bedtime once a week still saw gains in math achievement scores by the end of the school year, especially for children whose parents are anxious about math.

For moms and dads who might not know where to begin when it comes to talking to their kids about math, the app serves as a helpful starting point and guide. “We think providing stories and answers helps provide scaffolding for the parents and gives them a way to talk about math,” Beilock said. “Parents who are the most anxious about math benefit the most.”

The study came to a general conclusion that making your child do well in sums is not just the purview of the school but also of the home, therefore, make discussions in your home ‘math friendly’ and watch your kid boost her math score much to your delight.

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