Posted by: cindybiz | May 26, 2010

Books in your home are important!

This important study just seems to confirm what literacy experts have said for years…books are important!!

ScienceDaily (May 21, 2010) — Whether rich or poor, residents of the United States or China, illiterate or college graduates, parents who have books in the home increase the level of education their children will attain, according to a 20-year study led by Mariah Evans, University of Nevada, Reno associate professor of sociology and resource economics.

A tiny part of our home library!

For years, educators have thought the strongest predictor of attaining high levels of education was having parents who were highly educated. But, strikingly, this massive study showed that the difference between being raised in a bookless home compared to being raised in a home with a 500-book library has as great an effect on the level of education a child will attain as having parents who are barely literate (3 years of education) compared to having parents who have a university education (15 or 16 years of education). Both factors, having a 500-book library or having university-educated parents, propel a child 3.2 years further in education, on average.

Being a sociologist, Evans was particularly interested to find that children of lesser-educated parents benefit the most from having books in the home. She has been looking for ways to help Nevada’s rural communities, in terms of economic development and education.

“What kinds of investments should we be making to help these kids get ahead?” she asked. “The results of this study indicate that getting some books into their homes is an inexpensive way that we can help these children succeed.”

Evans said, “Even a little bit goes a long way,” in terms of the number of books in a home. Having as few as 20 books in the home still has a significant impact on propelling a child to a higher level of education, and the more books you add, the greater the benefit.

“You get a lot of ‘bang for your book’,” she said. “It’s quite a good return-on-investment in a time of scarce resources.”

In some countries, such as China, having 500 or more books in the home propels children 6.6 years further in their education. In the United States, the effect is less, 2.4 years, than the 3.2-year average advantage experienced across all 27 countries in the study. But, Evans points out that 2.4 years is still a significant advantage in terms of educational attainment.

For example, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, Americans who have some college or an associate’s degree, but not a bachelor’s degree, earn an average of $7,213 more annually than those with just a high school education. Those who attain a bachelor’s degree earn $21,185 more each year, on average, than those with just high school diplomas.

The study by Evans and her colleagues at Nevada, UCLA and Australian National University is one of the largest and most comprehensive studies ever conducted on what influences the level of education a child will attain.

The researchers were struck by the strong effect having books in the home had on children’s educational attainment even above and beyond such factors as education level of the parents, the country’s GDP, the father’s occupation or the political system of the country.

Having books in the home is twice as important as the father’s education level, and more important than whether a child was reared in China or the United States. Surprisingly, the difference in educational attainment for children born in the United States and children born in China was just 2 years, less than two-thirds the effect that having 500 or more books in the home had on children (3.2 years).

For the original article and for related information, check out Science Daily .

Have you found this to be true in your experience? Love to hear from you!

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Responses

  1. This weekend I met a once average family whose mom loved to go to the library to read and borrow books to read to her children. Today the children include a engineer, pastor, and warden; the best news, they are still humble people. Aloha… Carl and Amy

    • Thanks for confirming this! It is amazing what doors are opened by a mom who knows the importance of books!

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Carl Okuyama, Carl Okuyama. Carl Okuyama said: Read 2 children – https://cindybiz.wordpress.com/2010/05/26/books-in-your-home-are-important/: http://bit.ly/ch5h37 via @addthis #parenting […]

  3. Very interesting post, though sadly there are some exceptions to the rule. I am an avid reader and lover of books and now a professional writer.

    I have always had books and literature scattered throughout my homes since childhood. My eldest son has never had much interest in reading, despite the encouragement. Some children just do not enjoy reading, period, and that is probably why he loves being a car mechanic instead!
    Best wishes,
    SP

    • I agree that there are certainly exceptions to the rule…we all have different personalities…and for some, reading is just a means to an end to learn about something they need to know…not for pleasure! My kids are not all avid readers…but they do know that if they want to find information, I have plenty of books to help them out!


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