Unread Books at Home Still Spark Literacy Habits

From Scientific American:

We know that reading is good for children. And presumably for adults as well. Now, a new study suggests that just being around books has its benefits—even if you don’t make a point of reading them a lot. A team of researchers in Australia finds that growing up in a home with a sizable library enhances enhances literacy, number-sense, and even technological know-how in later life.

. . . .

The researchers were exploring the advantages of scholarly culture. In particular, they were interested in a curious observation that some call the ‘radiation effect.’

“Radiation effect is a situation where children grow up around books, but they don’t read books, but somehow books benefit them, even though they don’t read them as much as maybe their parents would like them to.”

. . . .

“What we were able to demonstrate was that people who grew up around books had better literacy, numeracy and digital problem-solving skills than people who had fewer books growing up but had similar education levels, similar jobs, and even similar adult habits in terms of reading or engaging in various numeracy-enhancing activities.”

In fact, teens who only made it through high school but were raised in a bookish environment fared as well in adulthood as college grads who grew up in a house bereft of books.

Link to the rest at Scientific American