Ronda Kaysen: Cleanliness is certainly godliness. It might also make a bookworm of your babe.
In a study aptly titled Order in the House, Anna Johnson and Anne Martin of Columbia Teachers College argue that kids whose parents keep orderly homes have better reading skills than kids whose parents, well, let's be blunt here, are slobs.
The authors looked at a pool of white, middle-class kindergartners and first graders in Ohio. They looked at kids whose mothers had above-average reading skills and those with average reading skills. The kids of high-reading moms had better reading skills if they lived in a clean, orderly home.
Average-reading moms, you're off the hook. All you have to worry about is how often your kid plays with his books. Cleanliness seemed to have no effect on kids of average readers.
"Household order taps a more fundamental characteristic of parents or households, such as maternal industriousness, planning ability, or conscientiousness, that gives rise to both orderliness and better reading skills in children," the authors write.
Orderliness seems to matter only among this one subset -- probably because if you're a mom who reads a lot, you already surround your children with books and read to them at bedtime, so this is the one factor that might vary from one high-reading household to another.
Before I bust out the vacuum cleaner, I ask you this: Do you think a clean house has any effect on reading or is this just rubbish?
|Ronda Kaysen is a freelance writer. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, BusinessWeek.com, Architectural Record, Huffington Post, New York Observer and AM New York. She lives in Brooklyn with her family.|