By Jayme Carrico
Studies have found a child’s access to books plays a significant role in early childhood literacy. One recent study found that providing access to books, book giveaway programs encourage reading time between parents and children, increase a child’s overall interest in reading, and advance a child’s early literacy and language skills.
Access to Books Encourages Reading
Parents of young children often face time constraints and are more likely to make quick decisions based on environmental factors. If a parent has easy access to age-appropriate books for their children, they are more likely to choose reading as an activity.
Parent-child reading time is crucial. According to literacy research, parents provide the most language input when reading to their children. Therefore, a child is more likely to develop language skills from reading with a parent than any other parent-child activity such as playing or eating together.
Children are often just as likely as parents to make decisions based on their environment. With books in the home, a child could easily choose reading a book over playing with toys or watching a show.
Bridging the Gap with Book Giveaway Programs
Researchers have found that the type of books available to the child, not just the quantity, is also an important factor in overall literacy development. Books on various topics, such as numbers, language, history, and fiction, all contribute to a well-rounded home literacy environment. Thus, book giveaway programs enable parents to provide both a higher quantity and quality of books to their children.
Additionally, these programs can also start a “snowball effect” where the mere presence of books in the home can encourage children to choose to read voluntarily. Frequent reading advances a child’s literacy skills and presumably further increases the child’s interest in reading. The study concludes by restating the important role book giveaway programs play in this cycle. A free book can be just the nudge a child needs to begin a life-long love of reading.
Research available here: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.3102/0034654320922140