Whether you are helping a child grow intellectually or you’re thinking about your own language skills, is your strategy to leave behind the apparently frivolous thrills of storytelling for non-fiction? If so, you may want to rethink this strategy.

Today in The Conversation Canada, Raymond A. Mar from York University shares how four separate studies based on data with almost 1,000 young adults found that “reading fiction was the stronger and more consistent predictor of language skills compared to reading non-fiction.”

He advocates fostering “a love for fiction in children, to promote the healthy habit of reading stories for pleasure as early as possible.”

Also today:


Susannah Schmidt

Education + Arts Editor

The growth of benefits derived from reading for pleasure starts young. (Shutterstock)

Reading to improve language skills? Focus on fiction rather than non-fiction

Raymond A. Mar, York University, Canada

Verbal abilities provide benefits in school and in one’s career. Fostering a love for stories and fiction in children should be a high priority.

A Russian military intercontinental ballistic missile launcher rolls by during the 2019 Victory Day military parade celebrating the end of the Second World War in Red Square in Moscow in May 2019. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

Is Russia increasingly likely to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine?

Alexander Hill, University of Calgary

The sort of scenarios that might lead to the use of nuclear weapons in the Ukraine war would require a significant deterioration in Russian fortunes — and greater western involvement in the conflict.

Russian President Vladimir Putin arrives to deliver a speech at the Kremlin in Moscow, April 26, 2022. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

Ukraine Invasion: How history can empower people to make sense of Russia’s war

Stéphane G. Lévesque, L’Université d’Ottawa/University of Ottawa; Arthur Chapman, UCL

‘Vlad the mad’ psychological analyses don’t help us understand Russia’s war. Historians gain insights by examining the enabling and determining factors behind why conflicts erupt.

Food prescriptions provide patients with vouchers that can be spent on fruits and vegetables. (Jonathon Barraball)

Social prescriptions: Why some health-care practitioners are prescribing food to their patients

Matthew Little, University of Victoria; Eleah Stringer, University of Victoria; Warren Dodd, University of Waterloo

Food security is crucial to disease prevention and management, so prescribing healthy foods and reducing barriers to better diets makes sense. But food prescriptions should not be immune to scrutiny.

Maple syrup contains bioactive molecules whose benefits go far beyond the simple pleasure of a sweet treat. (Shutterstock)

Unlocking the secrets of maple syrup, one molecule at a time

Sébastien Cardinal, Université du Québec à Rimouski (UQAR); Amy McMackin, Université du Québec à Rimouski (UQAR)

Apart from being a jewel of Canada’s culinary heritage, maple syrup has a complex chemical constitution.

La Conversation Canada

Depuis mars 2020, le Canada a vu émerger l’enseignement virtuel synchrone et asynchrone dans le milieu scolaire. (Shutterstock)

Enseignement virtuel : la technologie ne doit pas prendre le dessus sur les apprentissages

Isabelle Carignan, Université TÉLUQ ; Charlette Ménard, Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue (UQAT); Joanie Viau, Université TÉLUQ ; Marie-Christine Beaudry, Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM); Steve Bissonnette, Université TÉLUQ

Pour que les élèves apprennent réellement, il faut revenir à l’essentiel : les cahiers d’exercices papier-crayon, le tableau blanc effaçable et l’enseignement explicite.

Ukraine Invasion


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