Growing up in a house full of books is major boost to literacy and numeracy, study finds

Research data from 160,000 adults in 31 countries concludes that a sizeable home library gave teen school leavers skills equivalent to university graduates who didn’t read

Growing up in a home packed with books has a large effect on literacy in later life – but a home library needs to contain at least 80 books to be effective, according to new research.

Led by Dr Joanna Sikora of Australian National University, academics analysed data from more than 160,000 adults, from 31 different countries, who took part in the Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies between 2011 and 2015. All participants were asked how many books there were in their homes when they were 16 – they were told that one metre of shelving was equivalent to around 40 books – and went through literacy, numeracy and information communication technology (ICT) tests to gauge their abilities.

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