Books provide comfort, inspiration, reflection, and joy. More than ever, students need access to diverse and inclusive books not only in the classroom, but at home. Helping families build and expand home libraries benefits students in the classroom and into the future.
- Access to Books Accelerate Literacy. According to Susan B. Neuman’s extensive research, “[A]ccess to print resources—board books, stories, and informational books—early on in a child’s development has both an immediate and long-term effect on their vocabulary, background knowledge, and comprehension skills (Neuman, 2019).
- Books in the Home Boost Academic Performance. “We find that books in the home have a positive payoff in improved test scores throughout the world,” writes a research team led by University of Nevada-Reno sociologist Dr. Mariah Evans. “The relationship is strong, clear, and statistically significant in every one of the 42 nations (we studied).” Reported in Pacific Standard.
- Build At-Home Libraries and Build Bright Futures. “…the most important findings are that having books in the home helps children from families in all walks of life and all around the world go further in school, and that the beneficial effect is greatest for children from disadvantaged home,” states Dr. Evans in a recent interview in Educational World.
- Fill Libraries with Windows and Mirrors. “Windows and Mirrors,” coined by literacy expert Rudine Sims Bishop, is a way to think about inclusive and diverse texts that are critical to building empathy and self-knowledge. “When books are mirrors, they reflect the self. Children find resonance with characters who look, live, and think like they do… As windows, books transport children as they discover characters and cultures different from their own.” Tonya Leslie, PhD. Read for a Better World Educator Guide Grades 2-3
- Small At-Home Libraries are a Start. “Even a Few Books Have a Significant Impact. Having as few as 20 books in the home still has a significant impact on propelling a child to a higher level of education, and the more books you add, the greater the benefit,” according to Dr. Evans. Books in the home are as important as parents’ education level.| University of Nevada, Reno (unr.edu)
- Reduce Screen Time and Stress. There is comfort in turning a page, looking at pictures, and escaping into a book. According to a 2009 study conducted by the University of Sussex in the United Kingdom, reading can reduce stress levels by as much as 68 percent, even more than listening to music or going for a walk.
- Fostering Access to Books Stops the Summer Slide. An at-home library can engage students and enrich learning during school breaks. According to James Kim, an assistant professor of education at Harvard University. “Things like decoding, letter knowledge, and word reading skills are very susceptible to decay without frequent practice.” Solving the Problem of Summer Reading Loss.
Read for a Better World Take-Home Book Packs help families build diverse, highly curated at-home libraries. Developed to provide opportunities for increased family engagement and school-to-home extension, these Take-Home Book Packs are delivered three times throughout the school year and culminate in Summer Reading Book Packs. At-home libraries not only enrich and engage students outside the classroom, but help them flourish in the future.