Growing up with books has long-term benefits.

Many people feel guilty because they have a habit of picking up books but somehow never get around to reading them. If you belong to this tribe, fret not, because science can justify your spending sprees.

A new research recently confirmed that people who grow up with books at home tend to have higher reading comprehension and better mathematical and digital communication skills.

“A growing body of evidence supports the contention of scholarly culture theory that immersing children in book-oriented environments benefits their later educational achievement, attainment, and occupational standing”, the research stated.

How many books are too many?

According to a team of researchers led by senior sociology lecturer Joanna Sikora of Australian National University, it looks like the magic figure is anywhere more than 80. Those who had around 80 books at home tended to have average scores for literacy – defined as “the ability to read effectively to participate in society and achieve personal goals”. On the other hand, owning fewer than 80 books was associated with below-average literacy.

The research concluded that literacy continued to improve as the number of books increased to about 350.

The findings

“These findings have been interpreted as suggesting that book-oriented socialization, indicated by home library size, equips youth with life-long tastes, skills, and knowledge”, the study stated.

The findings draw evidence from “regressions with balanced repeated replicate weights estimated on data from 31 societies which participated in the Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) between 2011 and 2015.”

The research has documented advantageous effects of scholarly culture for adult literacy, adult numeracy, and adult technological problem-solving. “Growing up with home libraries boosts adult skills in these areas beyond the benefits accrued from parental education or own educational or occupational attainment”. the research concluded.

About the concerns of its impact on digital literacy, the team behind this latest study pointed out that “home library size is positively related to higher levels of digital literacy.”

The next time, if a feeling of guilt dawns upon you when you’re about to purchase a book, shrug it off with findings of this study.

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