Ever heard of the “Matthew Effects”? by Mr Martins Udogie

Taking from the Bible, Matthew 25:29, it  refers to the rich-getting-richer and poor-getting-poorer phenomenon that is becoming popular in sociology and  human relations to explain why some people just seem to keep having it all. Apparently, effortlessly.


Matthew Effects applies to reading:

The more you read
The more you enjoy reading
The more you want to read
The easier and faster it becomes to read.

And the more the benefits of reading.

Avid readers acquire more vocabulary, becoming more verbally fluent and verbally intelligent, and therefore less “lexically impoverished”. [I acquired that by reading the academic article cited below].

In simple terms, avid readers generally write and speak better. Because their vocabulary is more robust.

An amazing academic research by Anne E. Cunningham and Elliot E. Stanovich demonstrate this.

A child who engages in out of school reading for 21 minutes a day acquires about 1.8m words per year. It is 282,000 words per year for the one that reads for just 4.6 minutes per day.

While it is just 8,000 words for the child that reads for 0.1 minute per day.

Infact, what the 0.1 minute per day child reads in a year is equivalent to two days reading for the 21 minutes per day child!

That is simply astonishing.

And as you might expect, this reflects in their verbal dexterity.

Because the researchers were also able to show that:

a) most vocabulary is acquired outside of formal teaching and

b) conversation (including watching television) is not a substitute for reading.

They proved above by looking at what they called word rarity. How rarely a word is used in both written texts and spoken language.

An analysis of tons of written and spoken English, they ranked the following in terms of frequency of use:

“the” – ranked No 1 (most frequent or most commonly used in English language)
“it”  – ranked 10
“know” – ranked 100
“pass” – ranked 1,000
“vibrate” – ranked 5,000
“shrimp” – ranked 9,000
“amplifier” – ranked 16,000

Rare words are those lower than 10,000 in ranking (“amplifier” is a rare word); and typically outside the vocabulary of 4th to 6th graders.


Children’s books have 50 percent more rare words in them than does adult prime-time adult television and the conversation of college graduates.

Meaning that even children’s books expand your vocabulary than the conversation of two university graduates or from TV.

Martin Udogie
Author of How To READ MORE
CEO BrainPower Limited
Training. Consulting. Analyst. Media
No 1 on Channels TV Books of the Year 2014



  1. Pingback: Ever heard of the “Matthew Effects”?by Mr Martins Udogie | boazolaosebikan

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