David Brooks, a columnist whose work appears on many editorial pages, wrote something today that interested me. He said, "Researchers gave 852 disadvantaged students 12 books (of their own choosing) to take home at the end of the school year. They did this for three successive years." At the end of that time period, they looked at the students test scores. They found that the students who brought the books home had significantly higher scores in reading than the other students. The power of books!
Other studies have been done that show the power of books in a child's home. Children who grow up in homes filled with books and other reading material seem to stay in school longer and prove to be better students. It's almost a common sense idea, isn't it?
In some homes today, having a selection of books available may not be as significant as it once was. The inanimate books must vie with the filled-with-animation computers, TVs and other technology driven forms of communication, learning and entertainment. What to do?
Here, I believe, is where parents and grandparents must step in and introduce the child to the glory of reading. The old 'practice what you preach' comes into to play here. Children don't learn from just being told about reading, They'll learn as much, or more, from witnessing other family members reading. Another adage comes to mind 'seeing is believing.'
I believe in the power of books. Economically privileged members of society sometimes take books for granted. They've always had access to them. If you are ever asked to donate a book, or purchase a book to give to a child through some social program or by a teacher, I hope you'll do it. Put a book in a child's hand, and it will stay with them forever.