October 16, 2018
Study reveals that growing up in a home filled with books makes kids smarter
by Erica Huang
A recent study reported by The Guardian found that the more books in a child’s home, the better his or her educational outcome despite whether a child actually read more books or not.
Published in the Social Science Research Journal, the joint study between Australian National University and University of Nevada found a direct correlation between the amount of books in one’s household at age 16 to their level of literacy, math, and IT skills later in life. Adults across 31 countries were surveyed, ranging from ages 25 to 65, and asked about the number of books in their homes when they were 16. While earlier reports have found correlations between leisure reading and educational outcomes and bookish childhoods and increased adult income, this particular study indicates a far stronger and long-lasting global connection.
Lead scientist, Dr. Joanna Sikora, said of the correlation, “Literacy-wise, bookish adolescence makes up for a good deal of educational advantage,” but especially noted the unexpected increase in tertiary skills in math and IT:
The tendency is to think that this is a different skill. You either are a words person or a numbers person. But if this data is telling us anything, it’s that this is not the case at all. We didn’t expect that… It is not just: if you read books as a kid, you are good at reading books later on. You are actually good at literacy in a completely different environment, the digital environment.
So, what does that mean for us? Well, time to buy some more books.
Erica Huang is former Melville House intern.