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Read, read, read. Teachers have spent lifetimes trying to encouraging, cajoling and even demanding that their students spend more time reading. Now we know why.

Recently we saw the release of a report from the OECD, Pathways to success: How knowledge and skills at the young age of fifteen shapes the future lives in Canada. There is no greater predictor of a childís future educational success than reading proficiency in high school.

30,000 students in the year 2000 wrote the standardized global test in reading, math and sciences- with a follow up progress survey by Statistics Canada every two years.
This provides us with an unique window of these students 21 year old in the latest survey, through university, college, work and unemployment.

Students whose parents attended university are nearly five times more likely to be attending university when they are 21 than students who did not. Parental income over $100,000.is strongly predictor of post secondary education. As is being female.

Being born to rich well educated parents sure helps one go on to post-secondary education.

And yet the most important determinants to success are not preordained. Time spent studding is more important than oneís parents or gender. While homework says little in early grades, the high school student who spends eight hours a week studding is five times more likely to reach university then the student who does none.

But by far the most important factor of all is reading proficiency. The top readers were 20 times more likely to be in university then their peers with poor reading skills. Reading skills matters for all students including those who wish to enter math/science programs.

A recent report from the University of Waterloo showed that many students in a vast array of career related programs in Engineering/Computer Science/Math related courses are in trouble. They were failing their English Literacy Studies mandatory courses and had to go for help to be able to stay in their programs.

The reports confirm the necessity of a basic education focused on foundational skills. Learned traits, such as reading and studding. overwhelm inherited factors such as parental income or education.

I ask every young clients that I counsel if they take the time to read for fun? The vast majority tell me that they spend little or no time reading. I try to explain that taking the time to read will give them word knowledge, spelling and grammar skills. I even share a list of interesting book titles for my students to loan from the library.

The report shows that reading is a great predictor of success for students post-secondary education and ultimately their future. Watching countless hours on the boob T.V, playing XBox for hours on end are not in the best interests of our studentís future.

Now you have the facts. But of course you know that your mother/ teacher was always right.Read.

Len Lesser

Len Lesser posts a report every week

You can email Len at lenlesser@hotmail.com