Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of dropping off over 300 books to give to kids at Warner Enhanced Options Elementary School to start off their summer reading. What a joy!
The Tulip Street Legacy Fund believes that every child should be given every opportunity to learn (and learn to love) to read. One way to help this is to make sure kids have books of their own in their homes.
It is well-recognized that one of the key milestones on the path to success is learning to read in the early grades. Unfortunately, according to the Governor’s Books from Birth Foundation, only 43% of Tennessee’s Third Graders read proficiently.
The Governor’s Books from Birth Foundation is one of the organizations in Tennessee that is working to improve this literacy rate. It sends one book a month to children in Tennessee from their birth until they turn 5.
One of the volunteers with our local branch of the Books from Birth program was recently interviewed, and stated:
“I have tutored third and fourth graders before. It’s easy to identify the children who don’t have books in the home. Unfortunately, they tend to struggle throughout their early years. Reading books to a child encourages them to love books and reading.”
In fact, a study of data covering more than 20 years and across 42 countries found that the presence of books in the home has a greater influence on a child’s level of education than the parents’ income, nationality, or level of education. (Click here to read an article in Education World discussing the study and interviewing the lead researcher, Dr. Mariah Evans, a professor at the University of Nevada, Reno.)
According to an article in the Pacific Standard, this study showed that the presence of books in the home has a substantial impact on educational success, and that books “especially benefit children from disadvantaged families.”
Dr. Evans and her colleagues reported that: “Regardless of how many books the family already has, each addition to the home library helps children do better (on the standard test).”
Surprisingly, the research also found that: “The gains are not equally great across the entire cultural hierarchy.” The researchers explain that: “They are larger at the bottom, far below elite level. Each additional book has a greater impact on the performance of someone who only has a small home library than it does on the performance of someone from a home overflowing with books. The second book and the third book have much greater impacts than the 102nd or 103rd.”
On the flip side (and not to bring in too much negativity into this post!), a study by the Annie E. Casey Foundation found that students who don’t read well in third grade are four times more likely to drop out or not finish high school. Couple that with the statistic we began with—that only 43% of Third Graders in Tennessee read proficiently—and we have a lot of work to do!
And so, we were excited to be able to drop off enough books to provide every student at Warner School with the gift of reading this week. Each child received the gift of a book to begin his or her summer vacation.We hope they all enjoy their books, and that they use them to kick-start their summer reading! Maybe they’ll lend their books to one another and read even more this summer!