Education Opinion

RIF Study: Access to Books Vital to Children’s Success

By Donalyn Miller — September 25, 2010 2 min read
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This week, Reading is Fundamental (RIF) released the results of an extensive research meta-analysis performed by Learning Point Associates, an affiliate of the American Institutes of Research, proving that access to print materials has positive behavioral, academic, and psychological outcomes. This study supports RIF’s long-standing mission to provide books to children. According to RIF’s summary report, access to print materials:

  • Improves children’s reading performance. Findings from the rigorous studies suggest that providing children with print materials helps children read better.
  • Are instrumental in helping children learn the basics of reading. The review found that providing children with reading materials allowed them to develop basic reading skills such as letter and word identification, phonemic awareness and completion of sentences.
  • Causes children to read more and for longer lengths of time. Giving children print materials leads them to read more frequently and for greater amounts of time.
  • Produces improved attitudes toward reading and learning among children. The review found that when children have greater access to books and other print materials-- through either borrowing books or receiving books to own--they develop more positive attitudes toward reading and learning.

In addition to these outcomes, study findings suggest positive relationships between children’s access to print materials and four other outcomes: motivation to and interest in reading; writing performance; language development; and academic performance in subjects other than reading.

In RIF’s official press announcement this week, Carol H. Rasco, President and CEO of RIF, said, “We know that providing children access to books and print materials is essential, but too often we hear stories of children who do not have access to the simplest of things, like books...Today, we move forward confidently--with conclusive evidence that backs our efforts and proves what we’ve known all along--that book distribution programs are a key factor in children’s academic success. Having access to books empowers children and families in their communities.”

RIF’s findings, like the University of Reno study I shared this spring, reinforce the need to provide access to high-quality books to children. Through book distribution programs, libraries, and classrooms, we can assure children’s success by increasing access to books.

The opinions expressed in The Book Whisperer are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.