WHY do all children need books?

Numerous studies have shown that children benefit from reading:

1. Reading is more nuerobiologically demanding than processing images or speech, making it crucial to a child’s brain development. 

2. Children who read more have larger vocabularies. 

3. Literary fiction improves a reader’s capacity to understand what others are thinking and feeling.

4. Reading reduces stress.

But in order to gain those benefits, children must have access to books:

5. Repetition is a crucial components of becoming a good reader. The best way to become a better reader is through practice.

6. Children have higher reading proficiency when there are more reading materials in the home.

7. Having books in the home has been proven to:

  • Improve a child’s reading performance
  • Cause children to read more and for longer lengths of time
  • Produce improved attitudes toward reading and learning among children

8. Children who live in print-rich environments and who are read to during the first years of life are much more likely to learn to read on schedule.

Unfortunately, many children don’t have access to books: 

9. Children’s early vocabulary skills are linked to their economic backgrounds. By 3 years of age, there is a 30 million word gap between children from the wealthiest and poorest families.

10. Children from middle-income homes have an average of 13 books per child. There is only one book for every 300 children in low-income neighborhoods.

And when children don’t have access to books, they suffer: 

11. There are significant gaps in reading achievement by race and income:

  • 47 percent of fourth graders from low-income families read below the basic level.
  •  50 percent of African American fourth graders read below the basic level.
  • 47 percent of Hispanic fourth graders read below the basic level.
  • 49 percent of Native American fourth graders read below the basic level.

12. Children that read below basic levels are more likely to be placed in special education, repeat a grade, or drop out of school. 

13. Low educational attainment is associated with reduced rates of employment and with lower earnings for those who are employed.

14. 85% of all juveniles who come into contact with the juvenile court system are functionally illiterate.

  • Inmates have a 16% chance of returning to prison if they receive literacy help, as opposed to 70% for those who receive no help.



1.Watch This. No. Read It! htp://www.oprah.com/health/How-Reading-Can-Improve-Your-Memory
2. 10.Stahl, S. A. (1998). Four questions about vocabulary knowledge and reading and some answers. In C. Hynd (Ed.), Learning from Text Across Conceptual Domains (pp. 15–44). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
3. Kidd, D. C., & Castano, E. (2013). Reading Literary Fiction Improves Theory of Mind. Science, 342(6156), 377-380. doi:10.1126/science.1239918
4. Reading Can Help Reduce Stress htp://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/news/507084/Reading-can-help-reduce-stress.html
5. Gutloff, Karen (1999). Reading Research Ready to Go. NEA Today. Washington, DC: National Education Association
6. Educational Testing Service, 1999. America’s Smallest School: The Family.
7. Reading Is Fundamental, Access to Print Materials Improves Children’s Reading: A Meta-Analysis of 108 Most Relevant Studies Shows Positive Impacts, 2010
8. Reach Out and Read, Reading Aloud to Children: The Evidence, Archives for Disease Control, 2008
9. Colker, L. J. (2014). The word gap: The early years make the difference. Teaching Young Children, 7(3): 26–28.
 10. Neuman, S., & Dickinson, D. (Eds.). (2006) Handbook of Early Literacy Research (Vol. 2).
11. 9. National Center for Education Statistics. The Nation’s Report Card: A First Look: 2013 Mathematics and Reading.
12.Children at Risk: Consequences for School Readiness and Beyond. (n.d.). PsycEXTRA Dataset. doi:10.1037/e529392010-001
13. Children at Risk: Consequences for School Readiness and Beyond. (n.d.). PsycEXTRA Dataset. doi:10.1037/e529392010-001
14. 75% Of Inmates Are Illiterate (19% are completely illiterate) Ruben Rosario,  http://www.invisiblechildren.org/2010/11/18/75-of-inmates-are-illiterate-19-are-completely-illiterate-ruben-rosario/