Position

Exposure to books is linked to academic achievement and more successful futures. Kids who don’t read well, or are from families that don’t read generally, are not exposed to books. You do the math.

Libraries offer endless, FREE, exposure to a world of books and should be considered an important stop on the road to a better future for all kids.

What We Know

Exposure to language through talking and reading should start during the first weeks and months of life. The amount of words a child is exposed to early in life improves language and “thinking” skills significantly. Exposure to words can be as simple as a parent talking out loud as they go about their daily activities (this was shown to expose children to 1000-2000 words AN HOUR), or, as complex as reading a novel with your child over several weeks. The important thing is to nurture the critical need your child has for words and books.

Their future success depends on it.

  • Creating a steady stream of new, age-appropriate books has been shown to nearly triple interest in reading within months. (Harris, Louis. An Assessment of the Impact of First Book’s Northeast Program. January 2003)
  • Researchers found that when mothers frequently spoke to their infants, their children learned almost 300 more words by age 2 than did their peers whose mothers rarely spoke to them.
  • 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, 1985)
  • Having books in the home is twice as important as the father’s education level. (Research in Social Stratification and Mobility, 2010)
  • The average child from a professional family hears 215,000 words per week; a child from a working-class family hears 125,000 words per week; and a child from a family receiving welfare benefits hears 62,000 words per week. (Hart, B. & Risley, T.R. (1995). Meaningful Differences in the Everyday Experience of Young American Children. Baltimore, MD: Brookes Publishing)
  • Across the nation just under half of children between birth and five years (47.8%) are read to every day by their parents or other family members. (Russ S, Perez V, Garro N, Klass P, Kuo AA, Gershun M, Halfon N, Zuckerman B. Reading Across the Nation: A Chartbook (2007): Reach Out and Read National Center, Boston, MA)
  • Students not reading well in third grade are 4 times more likely to drop out. (Students First, Statistics About Education in America)
  • 80% of students from low-income backgrounds read below grade level. (Students First, Statistics About Education in America)
  • “The link between academic failure, delinquency, and crime is welded to reading failure.” – The Nations Report card.Gov

What Can You Do – READ!

  • You can change the course of your child’s future by picking up a book TODAY and reading with them.
  • Get a library card for you and your child and plan to go at least monthly.
  • Show the importance of reading BY READING. You are the most significant role model in your child’s life (advertisers don’t want you to know this). Model reading behavior- magazines, newspapers, books. Kids need to see adults read in order to understand it is important.
  • If your child struggles with reading, don’t give in, and give up. Kids who don’t read well need to read EVEN MORE than kids who do. Give them books at their skill level, or even below, to build confidence in reading.

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