The Case for Family Book Clubs: Parents Reading to Children Indicator of Success at School

Thomas Friedman is more known for his observations on world affairs than family affairs, but in a recent opinion article for the New York Times, Friedman talks about how children show higher success rates in school when their parents read to them in the early years and are involved with their lives as they grow.

Friedman’s opinion piece cites a study conducted by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, or O.E.C.D., that looked beyond students’ performance on tests to help determine why some were more successful than others. Not surprisingly, parental involvement was found to play a key role. Of particular note was this finding: “Fifteen-year-old students whose parents often read books with them during their first year of primary school show markedly higher scores in PISA (Program for International Student Assessment) 2009 than students whose parents read with them infrequently or not at all. The performance advantage among students whose parents read to them in their early school years is evident regardless of the family socioeconomic background.”

To see the findings from O.E.C.D. and to see other studies, including one that looks at how reading for pleasure affects success in school, visit the PISA home page.

These findings strengthen the case for family books clubs. When you have a family book club, it helps you prioritize reading with your child and talk about what you read. Reading groups are also a way to keep everyone in the family reading for fun, even as the kids grow up and become involved in more activities that take them away from home.

November is National Family Literacy Month. Now is a good time to consider starting your own family reading group. To help you get started, I’ve written a few articles about reading with your family. Also, I’m giving away a copy of my guidebook for mother-daughter book clubs to someone who comments by the end of the day this Friday, November 25. It’s called Book by Book: The Complete Guide to Creating Mother-Daughter Book Clubs, and many of the recommendations found there can be adapted for reading groups created within a single family. Here’s where to find the other articles:

Tips on Starting a Family Book Club

Books for Family Reading Groups to Read Out Loud

Activities and Games Extend the Fun of Reading in Family Book Clubs

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