No doubt by now you've heard the scuttlebutt about the lasted study correlating reading for pleasure and school performance to come out of the National Endowment for the Arts. The key findings are summarized at the blog The Monkey Speaks and at the NEA site, but this is the paragraph that really caught my eye, as reported by Motoko Rich at the New York Times:
In seeking to detail the consequences of a decline in reading, the study showed that reading appeared to correlate with other academic achievement. In examining the average 2005 math scores of 12th graders who lived in homes with fewer than 10 books, an analysis of federal Education Department statistics found that those students scored much lower than those who lived in homes with more than 100 books. Although some of those results could be attributed to income gaps, Mr. Iyengar noted that students who lived in homes with more than 100 books but whose parents only completed high school scored higher on math tests than those students whose parents held college degrees (and were therefore likely to earn higher incomes) but who lived in homes with fewer than 10 books.
I've heard about a similar study, which I can't put my finger on, and it somehow correlated lots of books in the home to better performance in school even if the kids weren't reading the books. If you know of that study/report please remind me of the source.
When I told my husband about the study this morning he wondered aloud what the results would be for a house with over a thousand books... I'll let you know the results of our informal test of that study in about 5 years or so.