The Importance of the Home Learning Environment

The interaction between parent and child at home can have a significant impact on a child’s language and literacy development. By engaging with books, songs and rhymes at home, all parents and carers can support their child’s learning. 

* Children from a lower socio-economic background will go to school having heard 32 million fewer words than their middle class peers (Wolf: Proust and the Squid)

* At 20 months, babies of talkative parents knew 131 more words than infants of less talkative parents. At 24 months, the difference was 295 words (NHS Maternal Early Years Website)

* How parents interact with their children will have a lasting impact on the child.


Family scholarly culture and educational success: Books and schooling in 27 nations - Evans et al (opens in new window)

Conducted in 27 nations across the globe, this study explores the impact that the presence of books in the home and growing up with a reading culture has on children’s wider academic attainment.  

“Children growing up in homes with many books get 3 years more schooling than children from bookless homes, independent of their parents’ education, occupation, and class.” 

Key facts from the study:

  • Creating a ‘reading culture’ and having a wide selection of books present in the home enhances a child’s educational attainment.
  • Exposure to reading within the home had an effect regardless of where in the world the study was carried out.
  • The impact of a home reading culture was strong regardless of other well-known factors in educational attainment: parents’ education, parent’s occupation, class, gender, nationality and under all political systems.
  • Increasing the number of books in the home, even by one title at a time, has a great impact on a child’s learning and boosts their attainment in the first few years of school. 
  • Evidence of the benefits of a home library can be found in all areas of society.  However, the greatest impact is felt in modest income families and those with the lowest levels of education.
  • The presence of books in the home and the love of reading it creates is something that is likely to be passed from generation to generation within a family.