Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Books DO make you smarter!

by Chasya

Book Expo America kicked off today, and while the show floor won’t open until tomorrow there is already a lot of talk underway about a topic that will dominate discussions this year -- digital publishing. This brings me to news I stumbled on at Moby Lives, of a new scientific study published in the Research in Social Stratification and Mobility, which shows that simply having books at home increases the level of education a child will attain. The 20-year study also concludes that the outcome of a child's education level and how far they advance will be affected twice as much by having books at home than by their father’s education level, which is also a determining factor here.

This sort of thinking makes sense to me. Just being surrounded by books can make them tantalizing enough for you to reach out to discover what lies within them on your own. Having them constantly present can instill in a person that reading and literature is significant and worthwhile.

Heading into the digital age of books I wonder how this will affect young people should electronic readers become the dominant medium. If they are not surrounded by books will they think of them in a different way? With so much else to distract them (I’m looking at you World of Warcraft), will they think of books much if they’re not physically there? What say you, readers?

6 comments:

  1. The correlation between reading and vocabulary has been proven in study after study. As an elementary teacher, I can attest to the idea that the kids who have involved parents are often the ones bringing books to school from home. These children are typically the most successful, as well. In the future, whether this book comes in the digital format or not, the value placed on literacy at home will not change. It's all in the weight families place on reading and how families foster this love. Electronic or not, the love of literacy will likely endure.

    Marissa

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  2. My own kids prefer real books. But I agree with what Marissa said. The love of reading comes from home, not from the medium.

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  3. For a child to have books in the house in which he grows up is not the whole picture -- it's the child's wise selection of his parents, choosing only those who want to have books, and not just leather bound books bought by the shelf foot, but books scattered on all the tables, and discussed with the older children and read to the younger ones. There lies the seeming inequity of the child of the educated parents doing better than the child of the ones who do not value reading. The only solution is for reading to be pushed at school, for books to be available at school and for someone to take the trouble with each child to see that something of interest has been found and is read.

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  4. I hope there's room for both actual books and media books. I love reading books on my laptop, but I also enjoy picking up a novel and reading it from cover to cover. Who knows maybe media books will even help kids read more novels? Time will tell.

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  5. Book Expos will be a bit smaller if physical books dwindle to next to nothing. (I guess all the publishers will just display covers and allow people to hook up their eReaders to download the free books.)

    Wish I couold be there. Hate it that they are no longer moving BEA around!!! I made it to the last one in DC, but NY is too far.

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  6. Who I worry about (with E-books), is the child that doesn't come from a home with parents who love to read, and/or see the importance of instilling a love of reading in their children, no matter what medium they use. This kind of child in the past at least could have exposure to books at schools, libraries, or have them lent to them by friends, etc. But if they were to have to own a Kindle, etc., to be able to read in the future, that kid would probably be less likely to read, as they would have to have a gadget to enable them to read. Chances are they wouldn't own such a gadget, especially if they came from an impoverished home. This is where I see the down side to e-books.

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