Those of you who buy more books than you can read will be pleased to learn that a recent study suggests that this is having a positive effect on you and any little ones that may be around. Evidence suggests that those who grow up in homes full of books are more likely to have higher reading comprehension and better mathematical and digital communication skills.
As the Pacific Standard reports, a team of researchers led by senior sociology lecturer Joanna Sikora of Australian National University that a household with more than 80 books can enjoy the aforementioned benefits. Those who have an average of 80 books at home tend to have average scores for literacy, which is defined as “the ability to read effectively to participate in society and achieve personal goals.” Those with less than 80 books at home were more likely to have less than average literacy skills. The more books at home, the higher the literacy rate, though at 350 books the rate remained the same.
The study is based on detailed surveys taken from 2011 to 2015 by the Programme for the International Assessment of Competencies. Subjects were between the ages of 25 to 65 and came from 31 countries, including North America. The candidates were asked roughly how many books they had at home at the age of 16 and were then tested with reading comprehension, the understanding of common mathematical concepts, and their ability to use digital technology as a communication tool. The results showed that those who grew up with books scored more highly.
“Growing up with home libraries boosts adult skills in these areas beyond the benefits accrued from parental education, or [one’s] own educational or occupational attainment,” wrote researchers in their paper, which was published in the journal Social Science Research.
It won’t surprise you to learn that the aspect most impacted by growing up with books is reading comprehension, and it’s thought this can affect a child just as much as their parent’s occupations and education levels. It remains unclear as to whether digital books have the same result, though given that those who grew up with books had higher levels of digital literacy, they might well.