Reading is the single most important skill a child need
If you’re a child born into a middle-class family in this country, you have an average of 13 age-appropriate books in your home. But if you’re a child born into less fortunate circumstances, you have one book to share with 300 other children in your neighborhood.
Children’s book ownership, starting at a very young age, is imperative to gaining an appreciation for books, developing “reading readiness,” supporting literacy growth throughout the primary years, and ultimately becoming a skilled reader.
The research is clear.
Below are 17 facts about children’s literacy in America that inspire us every day to empower thousands of children through book ownership.
- Having books in the home is twice as important as the father’s education level. Research in Social Stratification and Mobility
- The single most significant factor influencing a child’s early educational success is an introduction to books and being read to at home prior to beginning school. National Commission on Reading
- The only behavior measure that correlates significantly with reading scores is the number of books in the home. The Literacy Crisis: False Claims, Real Solutions
- Children who struggle in vain with reading in the first grade soon decide that they neither like nor want to read. Juel
- Urging young people to read more when there is little available to read makes as much sense as urging starving people to eat, when no food is available. Krashen
- In middle-income neighborhoods the ratio of books per child is 13 to 1, in low-income neighborhoods, the ratio is 1 age-appropriate book for every 300 children. Neuman, Susan B. and David K. Dickinson, ed. Handbook of Early Literacy Research, Volume 2. New York, NY
- 80% of preschool and after-school programs serving low-income populations have no age-appropriate books for their children. Neuman, Susan B., et al. Access for All: Closing the Book Gap for Children in Early Education. Newark, DE: International Reading Association.
- 61% of low-income families have no books at all in their homes for their children. Reading Literacy in the United States.
- Only 24% of Waukegan 6 year olds engage with books! 2009 Kindergarten Readiness Assessment, United Way of Lake County
- More than $2 billion is spent each year on students who repeat a grade because they have reading problems. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
- Perhaps the most serious problem with current literacy campaigns is that they ignore, and even divert attention from, the real problem: Lack of access to books for children of poverty. Krashen
- Each dropout, over his or her lifetime, costs the nation approximately $260,000. Rouse, C.E. (2005). “Labor market consequences of an inadequate education.” Paper prepared the Social Costs of Inadequate Education symposium, Teachers College Columbia University
- When the State of Arizona projects how many prison beds it will need, it factors in the number of kids who read well in fourth grade. Arizona Republic (9-15-2004) Advertisement by Sheahomes
- The most successful way to improve the reading achievement of low-income children is to increase their access to print. Newman, Sanford, et all. “American’s Child Care Crisis: A Crime Prevention Tragedy”; Fight Crime: Invest in Kids.
- Out-of-school reading habits of students has shown that even 15 minutes a day of independent reading can expose students to more than a million words of text in a year. Anderson, Wilson, & Fielding.
- A single, brief exposure to good reading material can result in a clear increase in enthusiasm for reading. Ramos and Krashen; Cho and Krashen
- In 2009, Americans spent $3.2 billion on children’s books.