Department of Economics and Business Economics

Reading intervention with a growth mindset approach improves children’s skills

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Laboratory experiments have shown that parents who believe their
child’s abilities are fixed engage with their child in unconstructive,
performance-oriented ways. We show that children of parents with
such “fixed mindsets” have lower reading skills, even after controlling
for the child’s previous abilities and the parents’ socioeconomic
status. In a large-scale randomized field trial (Nclassrooms = 72; Nchildren =
1,587) conducted by public authorities, parents receiving a reading
intervention were told about the malleability of their child’s reading
abilities and how to support their child by praising his/her
effort rather than his/her performance. This low-cost intervention
increased the reading and writing achievements of all participating
children—not least immigrant children with non-Western backgrounds
and children with low-educated mothers. As expected,
effects were even bigger for parents who before the intervention
had a fixed mindset.
Original languageEnglish
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Pages (from-to)12111-12113
Number of pages3
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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