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Avid Teen Readers Leads to Higher Education and Income

August 3, 2011


Teen reading levels linked to higher education, income

June 28, 2011

Kristin Rushowy


Teens who read well at age 15 go further in their education and make more money by age 25, says a new study from Statistics Canada.

But the study also found that, surprisingly, about one in five students who were at the highest reading levels did not bother with post-secondary education. It says further study is needed to find out why.

Education professor Don Klinger of Queen’s University said students may feel there are more work opportunities, or they could be taking an extended break before heading to college.

“There are different options for students today and I think you are seeing some of that,” said Klinger, while also cautioning that the reading measure used isn’t perfect. “There’s probably some underemployment of those under 25; some of them may be trying to find themselves.”

Using 2010 data from the Youth in Transition survey, StatsCan found overall that there is a “clear relationship between levels of proficiency in reading at the age of 15 and highest level of educational attainment a decade later.

“Young people who had low scores in reading were more likely to have ended their education with high school completion or less,” the study found.

Klinger said the data confirm the importance of not just literacy, but education.

“We need to really start looking at those children (who struggle) more carefully and see what the options are,” he said.

“It’s an underexplored group of students and they need our attention in terms of where they are going, why they make the choices they do, and why they don’t value literacy — or education — as much.”

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