Mark Taylor of Nuffield College Oxford was on the Radio 4 Today programme (08042011)
talking about the latest research which suggests that Teenagers who want a high flying
career should take up reading;Press association release is here:
Activities such as sports, playing a musical instrument or computer games make no
difference to a person's career, but there is a clear link between reading for pleasure
and gaining a good job, it found.
The research, by Mark Taylor of Nuffield College, Oxford University, analysed the
responses of 17,200 people born in 1970 who gave details of their extra-curricular
activities at age 16, and their jobs at age 33.
The findings show that 16-year-olds who read a book at least once a month were "significantly"
more likely to be in a professional or managerial position at the age of 33 than
those who did not read.
For girls, there was a 39% probability that they would be in a professional or managerial
position at 33 if they read at 16, compared to a 25% chance if they had not.
Among boys, there was a 58% chance of being in a good job at 33 if they had read
as a teenager, compared to a 48% chance if they had not.
The research also looked at after-school activities including sports, socialising,
going to the cinema, concerts or museums, cooking and sewing, but found that none
of these had an impact on careers.
Mr Taylor, who is presenting the findings at the British Sociological Association's
annual conference in London, said: "According to our results, there is something
special about reading for pleasure - the positive associations of reading for pleasure
aren't replicated in any other extra-curricular activity, regardless of our expectations."
Reading could be beneficial because it improves a youngster's intellect, Mr Taylor
suggested, or because employers feel happier taking on someone with a similar educational
The research also reveals that teenagers who spend their time playing computer games
shouldn't worry about their job prospects - there was no evidence that playing computer
games frequently made it less likely that a teenager would get a good job.
A paper from the American Academy of Paediatrics published on line 28/2/2011 (http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/content/abstract /127/3/e818:
Some of which is here to wet the appetite!
Learning Disabilities, Dyslexia, and Vision
Sheryl M. Handler, MD, Walter M. Fierson, MD, the Section on Ophthalmology and Council
on Children with Disabilities, American Academy of Ophthalmology, American Association
for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus, and American Association of Certified
Learning disabilities constitute a diverse group of disorders in which children who
generally possess at least average intelligence have problems processing information
or generating output. Their etiologies are multifactorial and reflect genetic influences
and dysfunction of brain systems. Reading disability, or dyslexia, is the most common
learning disability. It is a receptive language-based learning disability that is
characterized by difficulties with decoding, fluent word recognition, rapid automatic
naming, and/or reading-comprehension skills. These difficulties typically result
from a deficit in the phonologic component of language that makes it difficult to
use the alphabetic code to decode the written word. Early recognition and referral
to qualified professionals for evidence-based evaluations and treatments are necessary
to achieve the best possible outcome. Because dyslexia is a language-based disorder,
treatment should be directed at this etiology. Remedial programs should include specific
instruction in decoding, fluency training, vocabulary, and comprehension. Most programs
include daily intensive individualized instruction that explicitly teaches phonemic
awareness and the application of phonics. Vision problems can interfere with the
process of reading, but children with dyslexia or related learning disabilities have
the same visual function and ocular health as children without such conditions. Currently,
there is inadequate scientific evidence to support the view that subtle eye or visual
problems cause or increase the severity of learning disabilities. Because they are
difficult for the public to understand and for educators to treat, learning disabilities
have spawned a wide variety of scientifically unsupported vision-based diagnostic
and treatment procedures. Scientific evidence does not support the claims that visual
training, muscle exercises, ocular pursuit-and-tracking exercises, behavioral/perceptual
vision therapy, "training" glasses, prisms, and colored lenses and filters are effective
direct or indirect treatments for learning disabilities. There is no valid evidence
that children who participate in vision therapy are more responsive to educational
instruction than children who do not participate.