RIF study: Access to print materials helps student achievement
This post was written by Carol H. Rasco, president and chief executive of Reading Is Fundamental, Inc., the oldest and largest children’s and family nonprofit literacy organization in the United States. It provided 4.4 million children with 15 million new, free books and literacy resources last year.
Rasco writes about a study commissioned by RIF, so perhaps it is not surprising that its work would be validated by the results. Still, I am publishing this because I believe that these programs are important and that they do, indeed, help improve student achievement. In fact, earlier studies have shown the same thing, but this is a message that never gets old, especially in a time when poverty is growing.
By Carol H. Rasco
What impact, if any, does access to print materials have on our children’s reading and academic success?
In an unprecedented search uncovering 11,000 reports and analyzing 108 of the most relevant studies, children’s book lending and ownership programs were shown to have positive behavioral, educational and psychological outcomes.
The study released today, Children’s Access to Print Materials and Education-Related Outcomes, was commissioned by Reading Is Fundamental, the largest children’s literacy nonprofit in the United States, and conducted by Learning Point Associates, an education research and consulting nonprofit and affiliate of American Institutes for Research.
The findings show that providing children access to print materials:
*Improves their reading performance. Among the studies reviewed, kindergarten students showed the biggest increase.
*Is instrumental in helping them learn the basics of reading, such as letter and word identification, phonemic awareness and completion of sentences.
*Prompts them to read more frequently and for greater amounts of times.
Improves their attitudes toward reading and learning.
The findings reveal what so many have both suspected and innately known to be true — access to print materials does, in fact, improve children’s reading skills, among other critical educational factors.
This research is conclusive evidence for educators, parents and communities to better understand the significance of making print material available for children at school and in the home.
Too often we hear stories about how children don’t have access to the simplest of things — like books — and that families are struggling each and every day to make ends meet.
The U.S. Census Bureau last week reported that one in seven Americans is living in poverty, the highest number in the half-century that the government has kept such statistics.
In addition, two-thirds of families with children living in poverty have no books in the home. And across the country, the reduction of funding usually available for libraries is forcing many of them to close or reduce their hours, making access to books even more challenging.
More than ever before, as families struggle with limited resources, RIF’s mission to provide free, quality books to children is of the highest educational importance. Ensuring our nation’s youth have access to books can mean seeing them achieve greater success in school and in life. Let’s be sure to help them reach their highest potential.
Follow my blog every day by bookmarking washingtonpost.com/answersheet. And for admissions advice, college news and links to campus papers, please check out our Higher Education page at washingtonpost.com/higher-ed Bookmark it!
| September 21, 2010; 12:56 PM ET
Categories: Guest Bloggers, Reading, Research | Tags: guest bloggers, reading, research
Save & Share: Previous: World Bank invests more in education; big gap remains
Next: Oprah and her warrior woman, Michelle Rhee
Posted by: sideswiththekids | September 22, 2010 12:02 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: skrashen | September 23, 2010 2:54 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: richardguy1 | September 23, 2010 1:08 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: getfit25pa25pa | September 24, 2010 8:45 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: getfit25pa25pa | September 25, 2010 10:42 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: getfit25pa25pa | September 25, 2010 11:12 AM | Report abuse
The comments to this entry are closed.