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Books make a home – and a bright future

Books make a home – and a bright future

Books make a home – and a bright future

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‘A room without books is like a body without a soul.’ So said the Roman statesman Marcus Tullius Cicero.

If a room without books lacks soul, imagine an entire home without books. To me, that’s a bleak vision. Empty. Lonely.

How many books do you own? Books on shelves, in bookcases filled to bursting, scattered on coffee tables, piled high on the bedside table…

Researchers at the Australian National University and the University of Nevada conducted a study to see how the number of books in a household affects educational outcomes for children. They asked adults aged 25 to 65 in 31 countries how many books they had in their home when they were 16. The average books per household were as follows:

Estonia: 218

Norway: 212

Czech Republic: 204

Denmark: 192

Russian Federation: 154

Germany: 151

Australia: 148

UK: 143

Canada: 125

France: 117

US: 114

Ireland: 107

Japan: 102

Belgium: 95

Chile: 52

Singapore: 52

Turkey: 27

What’s really interesting about this study is that the researchers found the more books in a child’s home, the better the child will perform academically over time – even if the child doesn’t read more than his/her counterpart who’s growing up with fewer books. The adult who grew up with a sizeable home library will demonstrate better literacy, numeracy and technological problem-solving skills than the adult who did not, independent of whether the adult attended university or read plenty in adulthood. In fact, the study found that adults with university degrees but who had smaller home libraries had the same level of literacy as adults who left school at 15/16 but had grown up with books around them.

So, whatever a child’s gender, age, nationality, educational opportunities and parents’ level of education, the child is at an advantage simply for growing up with books in the home.

The lead author of the study, Dr Joanna Sikora, told the Guardian that ‘it was not the act of reading specifically that brought benefits… There is more to it. It is a whole complex around books and reading. It’s important for young children to see their parents and other people surrounding themselves with books.’

I’m fascinated by the idea that simply being surrounded by books can much such a difference to a person’s development. Books are soulful; books are company; books aren’t interior decoration – they’re as essential as the bricks and mortar in the walls. Something to keep in mind if you ever find yourself thinking you have ‘too many’ books; that you should have a clear-out or quit bringing home a new treasure from the bookstore.

Keep books. Keep many books!

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TREKnRay
TREKnRay
2 years ago

Today the senior pastor at Loma Linda University in California started a five sermon series on Song of Songs also known as Song of Solomon. He was explaining how for centuries Christians thought it was about love of God and not about love between a man and woman. It turns out it is about love between men and women. God cares about love including sexual/sensuous love. He brought up how people who don’t read romance novels don’t actually read as much as those who do. They may read fifteen or so books a year whereas romance readers read at least… Read more »

hannahfielding
hannahfielding
2 years ago
Reply to  TREKnRay

Fascinating! I had no idea the figure was so high. Thank you for sharing.