A Child's Development From Books On Shelves

There's something to the culture of records or books on shelves that piques a curiosity in children that is good for their intellect during their formative years.

A NYTimes article noted:
Perhaps the strongest case for a household full of print books came from a 2014 study published in the sociology journal Social Forces. Researchers measured the impact of the size of home libraries on the reading level of 15-year-old students across 42 nations, controlling for wealth, parents’ education and occupations, gender and the country’s gross national product.

After G.N.P., the quantity of books in one’s home was the most important predictor of reading performance. The greatest effect was seen in libraries of about 100 books, which resulted in approximately 1.5 extra years of grade-level reading performance. (Diminishing returns kick in at about 500 books, which is the equivalent of about 2.2 extra years of education.)

Libraries matter even more than money; in the United States, with the size of libraries being equal, students coming from the top 10 percent of wealthiest families performed at just one extra grade level over students from the poorest 10 percent.

The implications are clear: Owning books in the home is one of the best things you can do for your children academically. It helps, of course, if parents are reading to their children and reading themselves, not simply buying books by the yard as d├ęcor.

“It is a big question of whether it’s the books themselves or the parental scholarly culture that matters — we’re guessing it’s somewhere in between,” said Mariah Evans, one of the study’s authors and an associate professor of sociology at the University of Nevada, Reno. “The books partly reflect intelligence.”

As discussed, there's a question whether it's the culture of the parents or the books themselves that matter, but there's no denying the strong correlation.

It's also important to give children (and researchers) the chance to find information serendipitously. With the keyword searching that often goes into looking for information electronically, it's easier to consider an idea then try to substantiate it through research. But with serendipitous information, it causes the brain to make connections that may have otherwise not been considered had the researcher not accidentally run across the information.

And there's nothing better than a living space full of books and vinyl records.


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