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>Chickens and Eggs

>Galleycat’s post re the First Book project reminds me of the argument advanced by Freakonomics that while the presence of lots of books in the home correlates with children being proficient readers, such literary wealth does not cause that proficiency, it simply means that reading parents tend to have reading children. That bio-determinated thought also puts the question to the British book labeling scheme I talked about yesterday–even if the prominent display of reading levels cause more parents to buy more books, will that cause more and better literacy?

Roger Sutton About Roger Sutton

Roger Sutton has been the editor in chief of The Horn Book, Inc, since 1996. He was previously editor of The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books and a children's and young adult librarian. He received his M.A. in library science from the University of Chicago in 1982 and a B.A. from Pitzer College in 1978. Follow him on Twitter: @RogerReads.



  1. rockinlibrarian says:

    >A similar local organization gave my son and I a book in the hospital when he was born, and it was a TERRIBLE thing, literature-wise– a rather ugly board book with one word on each page to label what was there. My son plays with it as a toy though, looking at the pictures and turning the pages (he is 8 months old), so that IS some basic beginning literacy at work, but I’m sure my own love of reading and books will be what takes his literacy to the next level and beyond, so he learns that books are more than colorful toys.

  2. minerva66 says:

    >For families that are not readers, access to books can make a huge difference to the kids. Some of the kids will be starved for anything. For others access through school or library (better selection of books) will matter more. Some need a better story to motivate them.

    Regarding smaller classes, I would say, most emphatically, it matters. I grew up in a family with 12 children. The amount of attention you have during your development matters. I also homeschool, and I believe that much of the success comes from the one-on-one approach.

  3. Anonymous says:


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