Sociologist Mariah Evans Discusses the Correlation Between Books in the Home (Even a Few) and a Long-Term Appetite for Education

A 20-year study headed by sociologist Mariah Evans found “the presence of books in the home” to be the top predictor of a child’s ultimate educational attainment. She sits down with Library Director Crosby Kemper III to discuss the link.
Tuesday, May 12, 2015
Program: 
6:30 pm
Event Audio
RSVP Required

The relationship is clear: The more books a family owns, the greater the educational gains are for children.

Mariah Evans, a sociologist at the University of Nevada-Reno, headed a 20-year, worldwide study that found “the presence of books in the home” to be the top predictor of whether a child will attain a high level of education – more significant than parents’ education, occupation, or class. On average, kids growing up amid an abundance of books get three more years of schooling than those from bookless homes.

Evans examines those findings and sits down with Library Director Crosby Kemper III for a public conversation on the issue.

Co-presented by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.

Thu, 04/30/2015
Courtney Lewis,816.701.3669
Sociologist Mariah Evans Discusses the Correlation<br> Between Books in the Home (Even a Few) and a Long-Term Appetite for Education

(Kansas City, Missouri) - The relationship is clear: The more books a family owns, the greater the educational gains are for children.

Mariah Evans, a sociologist at the University of Nevada-Reno, headed a 20-year, worldwide study that found "the presence of books in the home" to be the top predictor of whether a child will attain a high level of education - more significant than parents' education, occupation, or class. She discusses the issue Tuesday, May 12, 2015, at 6:30 p.m. at the Central Library, 14 W. 10th St.

Her presentation, The Book Benefit, is co-presented by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.

For many years, educators pointed to parents' educational levels as the strongest predictor of their children's scholastic attainment. Analyzing data from 27 countries around the world, Evans' research identified something else: On average, kids growing up amid an abundance of books get three more years of schooling than those from bookless homes.

That impact is consistent among rich nations and poor, in countries with economic systems leaning toward capitalism and socialism, and in Asia as well as Europe and the Americas.

A family's collection of books need not be huge. As few as 20 make a significant difference. "But each addition to the home library helps children do better," Evans says.

Evans, who holds a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Chicago, is an associate professor in Nevada-Reno's Department of Sociology and coordinator of the university's Applied Statistics Program. She previously was a senior research fellow at the University of Melbourne, Australia.

Admission to the event is free. RSVP at kclibrary.org or call 816.701.3407. Free parking is available in the Library District parking garage at 10th and Baltimore.

- 30 -