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Early Math and Reading Linked to Income in Adulthood

My son is huge into math and science right now. They were his best marks in school for his report card and he continues to show great interest in learning all he can about math. A new study that just came out in Psychological Science shows his interest now at 7-years-old is probably going to do him well in the future when it comes to job income.

Lead researchers psychological scientists Stuart Ritchie and Timothy Bates of the University of Edinburgh said they wanted to see if there was a link between early reading and math, testing to see if the effects went beyond the classroom and into adulthood.

The research team evaluated data from the National Child Development Study, a large, nationally representative study that followed over 17,000 people in England, Scotland, and Wales over a 50 year span, from birth in 1958 to the present day.

What they found was pretty interesting — the reading and math abilities at 7-years-old was linked to their social class 35 years later. Participants in the study who had higher reading and math skills as children ended up having higher incomes, better housing, and better jobs in adulthood. When they looked further, the data suggested that going up one reading level at 7-years-old was associated with a roughly $7,750 increase in income at age 42.

I’d be hard-pressed to ignore these figures and since my children are still within the age-range of these children when they were first evaluated at 7-years-old, I wonder if doing more for their early reading and math skills will help them in the future.

We’ve been trying to increase Speed’s love for reading lately and while it’s working, getting him interested in working on his math skills has always been a more simple task for us. There are some games that you can do with your kids that work on their math skills, while still having fun doing “boring” math problems.

  • Simple Ways to Teach Your Kid Math 1 of 8
    math

    Here are a few fun ways to help your child's love for math grow.

  • Guessing Game 2 of 8
    iStock_000016714353XSmall

    Pick a number in your head and tell your child to guess what it is between 1-10. When s/he guesses, tell them if it's "higher" or "lower" than what they guessed and have them guess until they get it right. This works on the simple number orders, which is pretty important for math. 

  • Add the Coins 3 of 8
    Close-up of Lincoln Penny

    Coins and paper money are a great way to get your child interested in math and counting. This gives them the opportunity to count the dollar amount and not just how many coins you have. It causes them to think and do quick adding and the more coins you have, the better the challenge. 

  • Solve the Problem 4 of 8
    iStock_000000203812XSmall

    Using a deck of cards, a piece of paper and a pencil, this game will use addition plus knowing how many more cards you need. If you've played the game "black jack", it's the same concept. Each person must pick up a card from the deck and get the closest to the number 100 when you add them all together without going over. Once you all master that one, see who can get the closest to that number with the least amount of cards. 

  • Let’s Go Shopping 5 of 8
    Cash Register

    You can do this in real life in a store or you can set up a little shop at home. Display items on a table and put their price next to them. Give your child a certain amount of money and watch them choose the items they can afford without going over the allotted budget. Great math skills and real-life skills can be mastered with this game. 

  • Go Fish 6 of 8
    iStock_000017578822XSmall

    It's one of the first basics of math that is pretty fundamental to all math learning. Playing the game "Go Fish" is perfect for learning math and number pairings without making it feel too educational. Mastering which numbers are pairs and matching is a key to good math skills. 

  • Computer Games 7 of 8
    Portrait of a boy using laptop.

    There are a lot of computer programs, games and apps that allow your child to play math-related fun. One site that I have found to be great is Funbrain.com.

     

  • Give and Take 8 of 8
    Red Apples

    This simple game of how many do I have left or how many do I have now, is great for quick math adding and subtracting. Take a few items (like apples) and have your child count how many are there. Then, take a few away and have them count again, remove some and do the same thing. These are the basic fundamentals to math, but allowing your child to see it happen and not just read it with numbers can give them the perfect concept for the simple math. You can switch it up by combining apples and oranges and have them separate and count. 

Photo credits: iStockPhoto
Study Source:  Psychological Science  May 8, 2013

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