Why Habitual Reading Is Important


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A presentation from Through the Magic Door marshalling the supporting research that demonstrates the connection between habitual reading and desirable life outcomes.

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Why Habitual Reading Is Important

  1. 1. Why Habitual Reading is Important<br />
  2. 2. © Through the Magic Door<br />2<br />It Goes Without Saying But it Still Should be Said<br />There are three arguments for developing and maintaining the habit of reading. One is principled, a second is anecdotal and the third is pragmatic. All are valid.<br />Principled – many of the most enthusiastic of readers focus on the pleasure that reading provides people. This is absolutely true; the most enthusiastic readers derive great psychological benefit from reading.<br />Anecdotal – A disproportionate number of individuals with great impact on history, science and general progress were also great readers.<br />Pragmatic – Educators and social commentators are apt to focus on more concrete interests. Enthusiastic readers do better in school, achieve better scores, go to more competitive universities, achieve better remunerated careers, demonstrate higher levels of community leadership, and in general achieve greater levels of desirable life outcomes than their lesser-reading peers.<br />
  3. 3. Principled and Anecdotal Reasons for Habitual Reading<br />Opinions of respected commentators who were readers, writers and doers<br />
  4. 4. © Through the Magic Door<br />4<br />Let us tenderly and kindly cherish, therefore, the means of knowledge. Let us dare to read, think, speak, and write. - John Adams<br />If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.<br />- Albert Einstein<br />Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.<br />- Benjamin Franklin<br />Prepare for the unknown by studying how others in the past have coped with the unforeseeable and the unpredictable. <br />- George S. Patton<br />
  5. 5. © Through the Magic Door<br />5<br />I cannot live without books<br />- Thomas Jefferson<br />A little learning, indeed, may be a dangerous thing, but the want of learning is a calamity to any people.<br />- Frederick Douglass<br />When I get a little money, I buy books; and if any is left I buy food and clothes.<br />- Desiderius Erasmus<br />It is a good thing for an uneducated man to read a book of quotations.<br />- Winston Churchill<br />Any reading not of a vicious species must be a good substitute for the amusements too apt to fill up the leisure of the labouring classes.<br />- James Madison<br />
  6. 6. © Through the Magic Door<br />6<br />It is wonderful that even today, with all the competition of radio, television, films and records, the book has kept its precious character. A book is somehow precious.<br />- John Steinbeck<br />The things I want to know are in books; my best friend is the man who&apos;ll get me a book I ain&apos;t read.<br />- Abraham Lincoln<br />Anyone who has a library and a garden wants for nothing.<br />- Cicero<br />There is not such a cradle of democracy upon the earth as the Free Public Library, this republic of letters, where neither rank, office, nor wealth receives the slightest consideration.<br />- Andrew Carnegie<br />It is a great thing to start life with a small number of really good books which are your very own.<br />- Sir Arthur Conan Doyle<br />
  7. 7. © Through the Magic Door<br />7<br />Take up and read, take up and read!.<br />- Confessions (397) by Saint Augustine<br />Yet if my name were liable to fear,<br />I do not know the man I should avoid<br />So soon as that spare Cassius. He reads much,<br />He is a great observer, and he looks<br />Quite through the deeds of men<br />- Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare<br />Reading maketh a full man.<br />- Essays (1625) by Francis Bacon<br />There are two motives for reading a book: one, that you enjoy it, the other that you can boast about it.<br />- The Conquest of Happiness (1930) by Bertrand Russell<br />My early and invincible love of reading, which I would not exchange for the treasures of India.<br />- Memoirs of My Life and Writing (1796) by Edward Gibbon<br />
  8. 8. Pragmatic Reasons for Habitual Reading<br />
  9. 9. © Through the Magic Door<br />9<br />What’s the evidence that reading is good for you? <br />It is often claimed that reading is good for you and is presented as a panacea. But what does that mean? <br />Good in what way? <br />How does it help you? <br />What is the evidence?<br />In the next few slides we will show how reading helps, independent of how it makes you feel.<br />
  10. 10. © Through the Magic Door<br />10<br />Good in What Way? <br />There is clear statistical evidence that those people that are among the best and most enthusiastic readers also have a much higher rate of achievement in the following areas:<br />Academic scores both in terms of grades and standardized tests.<br />Grades and test scores in mathematics.<br />Employment opportunities and career choices<br />Income and Wealth<br />Health<br />Participation in sports, cultural events, volunteer activities, voting, and other civic activities.<br />
  11. 11. © Through the Magic Door<br />11<br />How Does Reading Help You? <br />This is not quite so clear.<br />For example, reading does not directly cause you to have a high income but it most likely builds certain traits and behaviors that in turn facilitate acquiring skills and placing into careers that in their turn generate higher income. <br />
  12. 12. © Through the Magic Door<br />12<br />How Does Reading Help You?<br />Desirable<br />Life Outcomes<br />Behaviors &<br />Traits<br />Accelerated<br />School Skills<br />Actions<br />Empathy<br />Sustained Focus<br />Curiosity<br />Imagination<br />Pattern<br /> Recognition<br />Forecasting<br />Social and Moral<br /> Judgment<br />Critical Thinking<br />Analytical<br /> Thinking <br />Health<br />Income and Wealth<br />Status<br />Employment <br /> Opportunities<br />Career Choices<br />Options<br />Stability<br />Education<br />Civic roles<br />Etc.<br />Decoding<br />Vocabulary<br />Numeracy<br />General<br /> Knowledge<br />Conversation<br />Reading<br />Storytelling<br />
  13. 13. © Through the Magic Door<br />13<br />Evidence for reading as a gateway skill<br />The chances for employment in those careers most lucrative and commonly deemed most rewarding (Management and Professional) are far greater for Proficient readers than for all other levels. 61% of all Proficient readers end up in Management and the Professions as opposed to 36% of all Intermediate readers, 18% of Basic readers and 7% of Below Basic. Other career categories are Service, Sales, Office Admin, Farming, Construction, Installation and Repair, Production and Transportation.<br />Source: TRONTR page 84, US Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics.<br />Proficient readers are 2.5 times as likely as Basic readers to be earning $850 or more per week ($44,200 annual). This multiple increases for every level of income above $44,200. Proficient readers are three times more likely than Basic readers to be earning more than $100,000 annually.<br />TRONTR page 17, US Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics<br />Reading proficiency is correlated to employment status. In 2003, 78% of those with Proficient reading skills were employed full or part-time. The corresponding employment participation rates for those with Basic or Below Basic reading capabilities were 56% and 45%.<br />Source: TRONTR page 20, US Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics<br />
  14. 14. © Through the Magic Door<br />14<br />Evidence for reading as a gateway skill<br />Reading and writing skills are in demand among employers. In 2005 the number of employers rating reading comprehension as very important was 63%. Those employers deemed 62% of high school graduates as proficient. However, 49% of employers also rated writing as very important but felt that only 28% of high school graduates were proficient.<br />TRONTR page 16, The Conference Board, Are They Really Ready to Work? 2006<br />Poor performance in reading is strongly correlated with poor performance in Maths, not just in the US but in all G8 countries (the largest economies within the OECD). <br />Source: Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, <br />Those students that are frequent readers score measurably better on reading and writing tests than do infrequent readers. In 2005, seniors that are frequent readers (almost daily) scored 10% better on reading tests than students that never or hardly ever read for pleasure. Even more dramatically, for those same students, their writing tests were 21% better for frequent readers over never or hardly ever readers.<br />TRONTR page 13, US Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics<br />
  15. 15. © Through the Magic Door<br />15<br />Evidence for reading as a gateway skill<br />The amount of verbal engagement (talking) with a child in the pre-kindergarten years is very highly correlated with reading capability and later academic success. The variation experienced by children in more taciturn families and more talkative families is a factor of three and a half. By the time they enter kindergarten, a child from a taciturn family will have heard in aggregate thirteen million words whereas a child from a talkative family will have heard forty-eight million words.<br />Source: Research by Betty Hart and Todd Risley including Meangingful Differences in the Everyday Experience of Young American Children, Betty Hart, 1995and “A Natural History of Early Language Experience”, Topics in Early Childhood Special Education, 20(1), 2000, Betty Hart and Todd Risley.<br />Frequency of communication is highly correlated with vocabulary acquisition. Three year-olds from highly communicative families had an average vocabulary of 1,100 words versus a vocabulary of only 525 words for children from taciturn families. Vocabulary size is correlated with IQ, reading acquisition as well as with academic success. Between 86 and 98% of a child’s vocabulary maps to what they have heard in the home.<br />Source: Research by Betty Hart and Todd Risley including Meangingful Differences in the Everyday Experience of Young American Children, Betty Hart, 1995and “A Natural History of Early Language Experience”, Topics in Early Childhood Special Education, 20(1), 2000, Betty Hart and Todd Risley.<br />
  16. 16. © Through the Magic Door<br />16<br />Evidence for reading as a gateway skill<br />Good readers enjoy a much greater quality of life. They are three times more likely than non-readers to attend museums, plays, musicals, concerts, and art exhibitions; more than twice as likely to volunteer or do charity work; and one and a half-times as likely to vote or to attend or participate in sporting events, as non-readers (54% of the population). <br />Source: TRONTR page 18. National Endowment for the Arts and US Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics<br />
  17. 17. © Through the Magic Door<br />17<br />Evidence for reading as a gateway skill<br />“. . . more leisure reading while they were in the program, but also were still reading more than comparison students six years later.” The Power of Reading, Stephen Krashen <br />Greaney, V. and M. Clarke . 1975. A longitudinal study of the effects of two reading methods on leisure-time reading habits. In Reading: What of the future? Ed. D. Moyle. London: United Kingdom Reading Association, pp. 107-114.<br />“. . . free voluntary reading studies show that more reading results in better reading comprehension, writing style, vocabulary, spelling, and gramatical development.” The Power of Reading, Stephen Krashen<br />Krashen, S. 1988. Do we learn by reading? The relationship between free reading and reading ability. In Linguistics in context: Connecting observation and understandingI, ed. D. Tannen. Norwood, N.J.: Ablex, pp. 269-298.<br />
  18. 18. © Through the Magic Door<br />18<br />Evidence for reading as a gateway skill<br />Number of books in a home correlates to test scores. For seniors in 2005, those from homes with more than 100 books scored 25-30% better across the board (science, mathematics, civics, history) than those from homes with less than ten books.<br />Source: TRONTR page 12, US Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics<br />It might be assumed that prevalence of books in a home is a function of income. The data is not directly available to test that assumption. However, another variable strongly correlated to income is available, level of parental education attained. Children from a home where their parents attained a high school degree and have more than a hundred books in the house scored materially better on tests (History 5.5% better, Maths 5.8% better, Civics 16% better and Science 17.5% better) than children from homes where the parents graduated college but where there are fewer than ten books.<br />Source: TRONTR page 74, US Deparment of Education, National Center of Education Statistics<br />
  19. 19. © Through the Magic Door<br />19<br />Conclusion<br />Early and enthusiastic reading is characteristic of some our most famous people in the arts, sciences, government and military.<br />Most people of significant accomplishment attribute at least part of their success to reading.<br />Voracious and enthusiastic reading are strongly correlated with better academic scores, greater comprehension, higher levels of educational achievement, better employment and career opportunities and improved general life goals.<br />
  20. 20. © Through the Magic Door<br />20<br />Contact Information<br />Should you have any questions about this presentation, please contact us.<br />Charles Bayless<br />Through the Magic Door®<br />1579 Monroe Drive<br />Suite F150<br />Atlanta, Georgia 30324<br />E-mail: charles.bayless@ttmd.com<br />Office: (404) 898-9096<br />