Books need to be a consistent part of a child’s environment. The ability to read, and to read well, has a direct correlation to future life successes. Recent studies show that in middle-income neighborhoods the ratio of books per child is 13 to 1, but, in low-income neighborhoods, the ratio is 1 age-appropriate book for every 300 children.* Learning to read and exposure to books at a young age is critical to the development of literacy skills. Early experiences with books and stories are critically linked to a child’s success in learning to read. One study found that having as few as 20 books in the home still has a significant impact on propelling a child to a higher level of education, and the more books added, the greater the benefit.** Development of literacy is a continuous process that ideally begins early in life and depends heavily on environmental influences.
* Neuman, Susan B. and David K. Dickinson, ed. Handbook of Early Literacy Research, Volume 2. New York, NY: 2006, p. 31.
**Evans, Mariah, ‘Family Scholarly Culture and Educational Success: Books and Schooling in 27 Nations’, University of Nevada and UCLA, Australia National University