Study Shows Mealtime Chats Boost Confidence

October 2, 2013

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. boost [boost] (v.) – to raise or increase
Example: The father’s constant praise boosts the child’s self-confidence.
2. mealtime chat [MEEL-tahym chat] (phrase.) – light or small talk when everybody is eating together (during meals)
Example: My father considers our evening mealtime chats as a break from his stressful work.

3. recite [ri-SAHYT] (v.) – to state or describe a series of things
Example: The little girl felt more confident to recite about the issue because their family talked about it during mealtime.

4. set-up [SET-uhp] (n.) – the way something is done
Example: The new mealtime set-up allows the boy to ask questions during dinner.

5. fortunate [FAWR-chuh-nit] (adv.) – with good fortune or lucky
Example: The child was very fortunate to have a loving family who supports him.


Read the text below.
A recent poll made by the National Literacy Trust found that talking during mealtime boosts a child's confidence.

The study conducted last year involved 35,000 children aged eight to sixteen from the UK. Researchers gave the children questionnaires in the classroom.  The data showed that about one in every four children does not get to sit down and have a chat with his or her family during mealtime.

The results suggest that 62% of the respondents who have mealtime chats with their families feel more confident to speak in front of a group compared to those who eat in silence or do not have mealtime chats with families. Also, about 75% of those who have mealtime chats feel more confident to recite or talk in class.

Furthermore, the study discovered that children who eat together in silence with their families are worse than those who do not eat together at all because children feel less confident in the former set-up.

On another note, the study fortunately shows that 74% of the families who sit together at mealtimes have a talk and only 7% eat in silence.

Jonathan Douglas, Trust's director, says the research proves just how important conversation is in boosting a child's confidence and helping him or her succeed in life. Thus, the National Literacy Trust's Words for Life campaign encourages families to improve their children's speaking and listening skills by having mealtime chats every day.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Do you think talking during mealtime really improves a child’s self-confidence? Why or why not?
·         What are the advantages and disadvantages of having a meal together with the family? Please explain your answer.

Discussion B

·         How else can we help a child gain confidence? Please explain your answer.
·         How can confidence help a child succeed in life? Please briefly explain.


October 2, 2013