Children who are read to daily are likely to do better when they start school and be better behaved, according to a government study.
Researchers at the Institute of Education found a correlation between mothers who believe it is important to teach their toddler the alphabet and to count and read to them regularly and the child's achievement at the age of five.
The government-commissioned study looked at teachers' assessment of a child's achievement after one year at school, and evaluated the cognitive abilities of just over 8,000 five-year-olds.
They also assessed each child's behaviour using a questionnaire.
The study focused on which factors are associated with achievement at the age of five, and took into account parental variables such as how much time is spent with the child reading, teaching the alphabet and counting.
It concluded: "Reading to the child every day and having a mother who thinks it is important to stimulate young children are positively associated with all cognitive outcomes and negatively with problem behaviour."
Children who were read to daily did better in the naming vocabulary cognitive test, which involved the children being shown a picture and asked to identify the object.
Whereas, children who watch three or more hours of TV a day, on average, achieved lower scores on the tests.
The findings echo the results of research by the universitie of Columbia, in the US, that found poor parenting meant children were ill-prepared for school.