The Importance Of Reading And Having Books At Home
April 10, 2010
There are many studies proving that reading to children provides one of the best motivators for children learning to read on their own. Children who read on their own have been proven to receive better test scores in school. Children and young adults who do better in their K-12 schooling tend to get into and succeed in college. Those who succeed in college are more attractive applicants to job recruiters. Children who successfully graduate from college and proceed into productive, fulfilling and profitable careers are a relief to their parents.
A recent study by researchers at the University of Nevada and UCLA, et.al., entitled: Family scholarly culture and educational success: Books and schooling in 27 nations, concludes that having a ‘library’ of 500 books at home gives children an educational advantage over those who don’t. “Home library size has a very substantial effect on educational attainment, even adjusting for parents’ education, father’s occupational status and other family background characteristics,” reports the study, recently published in the journal Research in Social Stratification and Mobility. “Growing up in a home with 500 books would propel a child 3.2 years further in education, on average, than would growing up in a similar home with few or no books.” The study abstract states, “Children growing up in homes with many books get 3 years more schooling than children from bookless homes, independent of their parents’ education, occupation, and class. This is as great an advantage as having university educated rather than unschooled parents, and twice the advantage of having a professional rather than an unskilled father. It holds equally in rich nations and in poor; in the past and in the present; under Communism, capitalism, and Apartheid; and most strongly in China. Data are from representative national samples in 27 nations, with over 70,000 cases, analyzed using multi-level linear and probit models with multiple imputation of missing data.”
The researchers contend, “the number of books at home is an excellent reflection of a family’s “scholarly culture,” which they describe as a “way of life in homes where books are numerous, esteemed, read and enjoyed.” An early immersion in such a culture “provides skills and competencies that are useful in school,” and/or engenders “a preference for and enjoyment of books and reading that makes schooling congenial, or enjoyable,” they conclude.
We have no quarrel with all that. If you have a large collection of books at home and already encourage a ‘scholarly culture’ as described above, that’s great! But if you don’t have the room or the funds to create your own home library, we have a solution. Use your local public library. Rare is the home that can house or provide the thousands of books and materials available through your library. We believe, that with the same reverence and encouragement, reading library books can be an immeasurable boon to your child’s education, happiness and success in life. Celebrate National Library Week, April 11-17th, with the Essex Library. Come in and enjoy the materials, programs and services the Library has to offer all year long.