Thursday, May 27, 2010

Shocker from the U.K. (Hope It's Not True Here)

From the Telegraph newspaper, this headline, "Children more likely to own a mobile phone than a book." A study by the National Literacy Trust of 17,000 schoolchildren from 7-16 found that almost 9 in 10 have a cell phone (or to go Brit "mobile") than have their own books in the home.

The Trust also had some research saying that 80% of children with better than expected reading skills had their own books compared with 58% below the level expected for their age group.

Research by Nevada University in the U.S. found that "children coming from a “bookish home” remained in education for around three years longer than young people born into families with empty bookshelves, irrespective of parents’ own education, occupation and social class."

Very sobering. What's interesting is that you see more kids texting than actually talking on the phone but does that make it any better?

I'd think it's probably true in the States as well.

10 comments:

John J said...

Children as likely to own a mobile phone as a book is more likely here.

zb said...

Wow. I'm shocked. I guess we're excluding school books? And, what about the age breakdown. Are 8 year olds more likely to have a phone than a book?

SolvayGirl1972 said...

At GH Elementary, our PTA held three book give-away days using our Scholastic Book sales profits. Parent volunteers helped the kids choose their book from an assortment on tables. Our job was to make sure they were selecting at the correct level, but also to remind them not to choose a book they already had at home (ie their favorite book, etc.). I'll never forget the heartbreak I felt when after I asked one young girl, "You don't have this book at home, do you?" she answered, "I don't have any books at home."

seattle citizen said...

"Research by Nevada University in the U.S. found that "children coming from a “bookish home” remained in education for around three years longer than young people born into families with empty bookshelves, irrespective of parents’ own education, occupation and social class."

THIS is why the "teacher quality" focus is a red herring, a straw man, etc etc. That 40% non-Reading WASL pass rate?

Non-"bookish" homes.

So tell me again why we are denigrating educators who try to make up SOME of the deficit created at home?

hschinske said...

There are degrees in all these things. Some perfectly literate people don't really *keep* books. They get books from the library, and they buy a few here and there and then get rid of them again, and they read magazines and newspapers and throw them away.

I remember being at someone's house and having her remark proudly how "into books" her kids were, when they each had a small shelf with something like six or seven books on it. Her kids were smart and well-informed and I'm pretty sure they did read a fair amount (and I'd be very, very surprised if they didn't pass the WASL) ... but they weren't *accumulators* of books.

Helen Schinske

seattle citizen said...

Helen, I took the word "bookish," in this example to mean "talks, engages, leads a life of the mind"

Maybe I was stretching.

WV thinks I should have had some more musli for breakfast to help my mind.

hschinske said...

I'm sure that's what they were after, but in actuality what they ended up being able to measure is the physical quantity of books, and "bookish" meant 500 or more books in the home (about 18 percent of families in the US fall into this category). There's an interview with the researcher, Mariah Evans of the University of Nevada, at http://www1.voanews.com/learningenglish/home/wordmaster/For-Poor-Especially-Books-at-Home-Propel-Children-in-School-94917694.html

or http://tinyurl.com/3xe58z8, which goes into more detail.

Helen Schinske

seattle citizen said...

Just goes to show what happens when we measure quanitatively instead of qualitatively (or one without benefit of the other):

If you have 500 books you're "bookish". 499 you're not.

Did they say 500 of what KIND of books? What about someone with 501 Mad Magazines?

What, me worry?

John J said...

We're book recyclers! We use the library quite a bit, but when we do buy books we read them and then when we are done we donate them to Goodwill, our kids school, or another non profit organization. The only exception are reference books which we keep, and a few treasured books that our kids have decided they can't part with.

wsnorth said...

You've seen kids actually talking on their mobile devices? Catch that and put it on Youtube next time, you'll embarrass them to no end!