Chess Improves Children's Reading Scores

Dr.  Stuart  Margulies,  a  noted  educational  psychologist,  conducted two studies   of   reading   score  changes  
of  children.  The  first   study   was conducted with students in New York City Community School District 9, the
South Bronx and the second study in classrooms in New York City and Los Angeles. The results in each study
were significant.

Students  in  the  chess  program  showed  statistically  significant  greater gains  in  reading  on  a nationally  
standardized achievement test than did the control group. The chess players outperformed the average student in
the country and the average  student in the school district. The gains were particularly  impressive  among  
children  who  started with relatively low or average initial scores. Children in non-chess playing control groups
showed no gain.

Interviews and analysis by Dr. Margulies offer possible explanations for these exceptional results.

The  cognitive  processes  used  in  chess  and  reading  are very similar.
Both   chess   and   reading   involve   processes   of  decoding,  thinking, comprehending and analyzing– all
higher order skills. Chess and reading are decision-making activities and  some  transfer  of  training from one to
the other may be expected.

Chess  masters  believe  chess  play  develops general intelligence, self-control, analytical skills and increased
ability to concentrate. They argue that enhanced reading skills naturally follow.

Teachers believe chess-playing students develop enhanced ego strength as  they  increase  their chess
competence. They argue that students who feel  confident  and  good about themselves naturally learn to read

Chess   participants   form  a  pool   of  intellectually  gifted  and  talented students. Students who join this group
make contact with  a  core  of high achievers and thereby develop more academic interests, speak at higher
levels   of   standard   American  speech   and   take   on   the  values  of achievement.

Conclusion: Chess participation appears to enhance reading performance.
U.S. Chess Mates