Researchers have suggested that reading stories and other learning material to children can help their literary skills, understanding and reading ability.
George Georgiou, a University of Alberta professor in educational psychology, and team found that the home literacy environment and motivation went a long way in developing childrens initial skills, such as letter knowledge and vocabulary, differently across languages.
The study, published in Learning and Instruction, examined the cognitive and non-cognitive factors that may predict future reading ability in English and Greek before expanding focus to Finland and China, with the same outcomes.
Georgiou said: "We have found that in English, you need a rich home literacy environment. It's absolutely necessary."
He added: "In Greece, parents intuitively know that as soon as a child goes to school, within three months, unless there are some severe situations that may interfere with learning, that child will be able to learn to read.
"Alternatively, in English, having someone read to you frequently as a child-explaining what the meaning of words are and playing around with the letters-makes a big difference as to whether you will become a good reader."
For those mums and dads who are unable invest time in reading to their children, the researchers recommended educational programs, such as Sesame Street, and multimedia tools, such as spelling programs or games.
He said: "Build their motivation. If your child sees you reading at home, that sends a message to that child that you value reading."