Science Explains Why You Should Hold Onto All Those Kids Books

If it feels like you re-stack your bookshelves more than a librarian, there is an upside to having on to all those books. New research shows how home libraries benefit kids in some amazing ways.

Spring cleaning is just around the corner but before you get ready to bag the books you might want to think again. According to a recent study, having 80 or more books in a household results in adults with significantly higher levels of literacy, numeracy and information communication technology (ICT) skills.

photo: Annie Spratt via Unsplash

The study, which followed 160,000 adults between 2011 and 2015, revealed that kids from homes with 80 or more books who peaked at a high school level education were “as literate, numerate and technologically apt in adulthood as university graduates who grew up with only a few books.”

Researchers found that the ideal number of books per household ranged between 80 to 350, anything over this amount was not shown to have any greater increase in benefits. The study found that American households had 114 books on average.

The researchers believe that having a home library provides a pro-learning environment, which makes books a normal part of social practices. Having a lot of books tends to naturally lead to more reading. “Early exposure to books in [the] parental home matters because books are an integral part of routines and practices that enhance lifelong cognitive competencies,” the published study states. “These competencies facilitate educational and occupational attainment, but they also lay a foundation for life-long routine activities that enhance literacy and numeracy.”

photo: jutheanh via Pixabay

So what about eBooks? The study concludes that more research is needed to determine how eBooks and other digital reading materials fit into this picture. However, it does point out a recent study that indicates that reading printed rather than digital texts enhances comprehension and retention of information.

—Shahrzad Warkentin

 

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