The Number of Books at Home Correlates to Future Success
In an acclaimed study by Sikora, Evans, and Kelley (2019), 160,000 individuals from 31 countries took part in a survey designed to determine how the number of books available in a home during adolescence impacts future success. The conclusions should be of paramount importance to all parents of school age children: The sheer number of books available in a home during adolescence significantly impacts an individual’s academic success and occupational standing in later life. Having a large library containing 80 books or more directly correlates to increased academic achievement in adult literacy, and the benefits extend well beyond reading. Other skill areas such as numeracy (the ability to understand and work with numbers) and technological problem solving are significantly impacted as well.
My advice to parents is this: Start early. Set your very young children as well as adolescents up for success with a vast library of books at home. Purchasing them can be costly, so make use of libraries and take advantage of great deals from consignment shops or used book stores. Choose books on topics that are exciting to them and involve children in the selection process. Also include books on topics that are meaningful to their lives and that expose them to a variety of texts. Instill a lifelong love of literature by reading to them often and engaging in lively, reflective, and nonjudgmental discussions. In addition to showing affection for books with these kinds of interactions, show them your own love of reading by ensuring that they see you reading independently.
Sikora, J., Evans, M.D.R., & Kelley, J. (2019, January). Scholarly culture: How books in adolescence enhance adult literacy, numeracy and technology skills in 31 societies. Social Science Research, 77, 1-15.https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ssresearch.2018.10.003