There are plenty of games, toys, and apps that claim to improve children’s intelligence. However, studies show that these gadgets actually do very little to improve a child’s cognitive ability (and can be quite damaging to developing brains in the long run).
The best way to improve a child’s intelligence at a young age is through reading. Reading encourages social and emotional development, and makes kids better thinkers, writers and communicators. Regular reading also has the benefit of enhancing a child’s creativity, because it encourages them to use their imagination and develops empathy skills. Children who learn good reading skills early are not just better learners, but also more intelligent people overall.
Psychologists have separated intelligence into two categories: “fluid” and “crystallized”. Fluid intelligence is our general problem solving ability, while crystallized intelligence is our ability to process and retain information, like names, dates, or important facts. Reading is incredibly important for our crystallized intelligence, but it benefits our fluid intelligence as well. As children are exposed to new ideas while reading, they are able to combine both their fluid and crystallized knowledge. In other words, a child who has read multiple books about toy trains will not only remember what they are and what they do, but may also have some idea of how to operate and repair them.
Studies have shown that differences in reading skills of 7 year old twins have caused differences in their intelligence later on, because “twins with better early reading ability than their identical sibling would not only remain better at reading as they grew older, but would also score higher than their twin on general intelligence tests.” 7 years old is quite an early age to see these differences, indicating why the need for developed reading skills in early childhood are so important.
Reading has the ability to improve our intelligence and skills in so many areas of life--even in math! Setting children on the path to reading success is crucial at an early age, in order to give them an advantage for years to come.