Recently someone shared an article regarding a study from The Coalition for Evidence-Based Policy, a non-profit, non-partisan organization that rigorously evaluates government-funded social services and education programs. It found that annual book fairs providing summer reading materials to students in high-poverty elementary schools gave students a significant gain in reading levels over a three year period.
Here comes the common sense part of it. I think this finding easily translates into most any home, anywhere.
This finding makes me think of all the places in our homes where we can have books that entice our little ones to pick them up to take a look. Books are naturally engaging. I have personally witnessed this, time and time again. Merely having a collection of books in the presence of a child, from toddlers to high school students, causes them to open up the book and take a look (at the very least). The research from the Coalition for Evidence-Based Policy reflects this and common sense would tend to fall in line as well. No?
Common sense also tells me that one has to be resourceful if one does not have the funds to fill a home with books. Libraries will provide a regular supply of fresh material, but one has to be organized and diligent about getting to and from the library on a regular basis. I have not always been successful with this endeavor and have paid many a fine for my oversight. Worth every penny, though, I might add. There are also organizations that literally give books away for free. I am lucky enough to have one in my suburban Chicago location. However, I only found out about it through the school I work for. I do believe that there needs to be better networking and awareness of resources available to the public.
So the next time you walk by a bookshelf that is in disarray, look on it as a blessing in disguise. How great is it that someone passing by couldn’t help but reach out and engage with a book!