Researchers at the Australian National University have found a link between adult literacy and a childhood upbringing filled with books. The importance of reading to children has been shown time and time again. Reading aloud to children is the best activity to promote their language skills and provide the building blocks for lifetime literacy. Additionally, the researchers even found a link between home-libraries and its children’s educational achievement later in life.
How Does Home Library Size Help Child Development?
Joanna Sikora recently documented the advantages of growing up in a home full of books. She conducted a study on various individuals raised with different levels of childhood exposure to books. The study found that that childhood exposure to books is an integral part in fostering literacy and long-term education. Exposure lays the foundation for life-long routine activities that enhance literacy. She has proven that home-library size positively influences cognitive, numerical, and problem-solving skills. Sikora states, “Early exposure to books in the parental home matters because books are an integral part of routines and practices that enhance lifelong cognitive competencies.”
How Many Books Does it Take?
Growing up with almost no books in the home is associated with literacy levels at about half a standard deviation below the mean. At about 80 books in the home, literacy levels rise to the average. As the number of books increases, there is a steady increase in literacy. A positive correlation continues all the way up to about 350 books.
Ultimately, the study found that more books in the home is better, with about 350 books as the plateau. IF storing 350 books seems daunting, don’t worry. You don’t need to build an entire home library – you just need a few new bookshelves!
Reading is Key to Child Development
Remember, children emulate parents. Parents who value books, learning, and reading will pass on those values to their children. Owning books is not enough – instilling the love of reading in your children is the key. The best way to teach is to read to your children daily. Be sure you are reading books for your own enjoyment as well. As children grow and watch their parents get lost in a book, they are more likely to adopt that passion.
So, start filling those bookshelves with books for yourself, your family, and maybe even some friends! Become a family that loves to read and lay the foundation for your children’s success. And have some fun while doing it!