Our Reason

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Books In Homes Australia

What is the issue?

Australia’s labour market requires highly skilled workers, and learning to read is the key to job security and the means to rise above generational poverty.

Research into learning shows that most, if not all children are capable of learning how to read successfully. However, research also shows that young Australians, who are not given these opportunities, leave the education system illiterate, become unemployable and end up relying on the broader community to exist. This results in increased health and welfare costs, higher crime rates and a clogged judicial system.

In the Closing the Gap Prime Minister’s Report 2016, school attendance is directly linked to academic achievement and “in contrast, those with low educational attainment tend to have poorer health outcomes, lower incomes and reduced employment prospects”.

What are the risks if these issues are not addressed?

Without the vital work done by organisations such as Books in Homes Australia, many children may not have as easy access to texts or learning resources. Their ability to learn and develop key skills for later in life could become compromised. Studies have shown that lower engagement with reading at an early age is directly linked to:

Books In Homes Australia

Why is Books in Homes Australia needed?

The work undertaken by Books in Homes Australia is important, as early engagement with reading leads to a number of benefits for children, families, communities and society. Research has shown that being read to as a child and having books in the home are irreplaceable parts of future academic success. Higher levels of literacy have been linked to:

Books In Homes Australia

The Importance of the Books in the Home Program

Some of the major benefits of building home libraries and reading at home include:

Educational Attainment

A 20-year study of 27 nations by researchers at the University of Nevada, Reno, found that having books in the home is as important as how educated parents are when it comes to a child’s educational attainment and academic achievement.

The difference between being raised in a home without any books and being raised in a home with 500 books has as much of an impact as the difference between having parents with three years of education and having parents with 15 years of education. Even if a child is raised by barely literate parents, growing up in a home with a 500-book library can lead that child to complete 3.2 more years of schooling, on average. Even having as few as 20 books around the house can significantly impact a child’s future education. The more books added, the greater the benefit.

(Source: Science Daily, 2010)

Helping Disadvantaged Children Prosper

Books in the home especially benefit children from disadvantaged families.

Indeed, books enhance the academic performance of children from families at all educational and occupation levels, but the enhancement is greater for families with little education and low-status occupations.

Regardless of how many books a family already has, each addition to the home library helps children do better (on standard tests). 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.

A home with books as an integral part of the way of life encourages children to read for pleasure and encourages discussion among family members about what they have read thereby providing children with information, vocabulary, imaginative richness, wide horizons, and skills for discovery and play.

(Source: Jacobs, 2014)

Shared Family Reading

Benefits of shared family reading include:

Books In Homes Australia

They are also valued as a shared social opportunity between parents and their children to foster positive attitudes towards reading, which is beneficial for their cognitive development, with parent-child reading activating brains areas related to narrative and mental imagery.

(Source: Merga, 2017)

Literacy and the Community

Supporting children’s early literacy learning is considered a task for the whole society, with responsibility no longer passed fully to families and education professionals, but extending into wider communities providing dynamic and stimulating literate environments. Indeed, research has also shown that children learn best when they are interested in what they are learning, and that they are most engaged in literacy activities when these activities have a recognisable purpose with which they identify, and where there is a degree of choice and collaboration.

(Source: Flewitt, 2013)

Furthermore, individuals with poorer skills are at risk of not being able to participate fully in the labour market, education and training and social and civic life.

(Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2013)

Without the work conducted by Books in Homes Australia, general literacy in vulnerable areas would continue to be poorer in comparison to the more advantaged areas of the country. This in turn, creates more difficulty for children and families in these situations to succeed both academically and vocationally.

In targeting young children who otherwise may not have access to texts or adequate learning facilities, Books in Homes provides a necessary service to Australian communities. Its Program gives disadvantaged children an equal chance to learn and engage with education during critical development years.

References

Australian Bureau of Statistics. (9 October 2013). Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies, 2011-2012. Canberra, ACT: Australian Government. Retrieved on 9 September 2018.

Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. (2016). Closing the Gap: Prime Minister’s Report 2016. Canberra, ACT: Australian Government. Retrieved on 9 September 2018.

Evans, M.D.R., Kelley, J., Sikora, J., & Treiman, D.J. (June 2010). Family scholarly culture and educational success: Books and schooling in 27 nationsResearch in Social Stratification and Mobility, 28(2), DOI: 10.1016/j.rssm.2010.01.002

Flewitt, Dr. R. (2013). Occasional Paper 3. Early Literacy: A broader vision. Association for the Professional Development of Early Years Educators. Retrieved on 9 September 2018.

Flood, A. (11 October 2018). Growing up in a houseful of books is major boost to literacy and numeracy, study findsThe Guardian – Australian Ed. Retrieved on 12 October 2018.

Jacobs, T. (27 May 2014). Books in the home are strongly linked to academic achievementPacific Standard. Retrieved on 9 September 2018.

Merga, M.K. (28 August 2017). Research shows the importance of parents reading with children – even after children can read, The Conversation, Retrieved on 9 September 2018.

Science Daily. (21 May 2010). “Books in home as important as parents’ education in determining children’s education level.ScienceDaily. Retrieved on 9 September 2018.

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