Carol Rasco from RIF gave me a head's up about a report being released from RIF today. Earlier this year, RIF commissioned Learning Point Associates to conduct "a meta-analytic research synthesis of children’s book lending and book ownership programs to determine the effect of providing access to print materials on children’s educational outcomes". Learning Point Associates is a nonprofit education research and consulting organization and an affiliate of American Institutes for Research.
The results are no great surprise, but are a nice validation of book distribution programs. Learning Point Associates uncovered more than 11,000 research reports on the relationship between children's access to print materials and educational outcomes. After rigorous screening, they conducted a meta-analysis of 108 reports that most directly addressed the question at hand. They analyzed the most rigorous 44 of the reports in more detail. They found that:
"Giving children access to print materials is associated with positive behavioral, educational, and psychological outcomes".
Here are a few highlights from a two-page summary of the report that I received from RIF. The study found that access to print materials:
- Improves children’s reading performance
- Are instrumental in helping children learn the basics of reading
- Causes children to read more and for longer lengths of time
- Produces improved attitudes toward reading and learning among children
Both the summary and the full report will be available from RIF after 10:00 EST this morning. Additional information will doubtless be available from Carol's blog, Rasco from RIF and the RIF homepage.
To me, this is further confirmation that funding book distribution programs like RIF, Reach Out and Read, First Book, and others is essential. I hope that you'll take a few minutes to check out or spread the word about this report.