Thursday, June 09, 2005

Books in the Home 

I just read Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt & Stephen J. Dubner, a pop-science book of a sort about economics -- which they nicely define in the phrase "Morality is the way people would like the world to work; economics represents how it actually does work." The thesis of the book is that 'rogue economist' Levitt has an unconventional way of examining social issues in that he actually analyzes data (!) to arrive at conclusions that challenge 'conventional wisdom'. His most controversial conclusion is that the declining crime rate in the US over the past decade isn't due to advanced police techniques or stricter gun control laws, but is a result of the legalization of abortion in the '70s, which resulted in an entire generation of unwanted children -- those mostly likely to become criminals -- to have not been born.

More pertinent to the world of books is the chapter on being a good parent, which looks at results of a late '90s study of grade school children that used regression analysis to isolate the effects of many hundreds of varibles on school performance. (Actually it identified correlation, not causation.) Among possible factors were

  • The child has many books in his home
  • The child's parents read to him nearly every day.

The perhaps surprising conclusion is that the first factor does correlate with high test scores, but the second doesn't. The authors speculate this is because books in the home are indicators of intelligent, well-educated parents, who pass such traits to their children directly; books in the home are indicators, not causes. These are other results suggest, to generalize, that it matters more who the parents are, rather than what they do. (See pp172-174 of the book.)

My own parents were only moderately well-educated (neither finished college--because of military service, and marriage) but made the laudable gesture of furnishing our house with at least some books, mostly encyclopedia and Harvard Classics, though neither of them ever read for pleasure. And they never read to me. The world of books I pretty much discovered on my own. (Which reminds me, perhaps I'll respond to that 'book meme' that's been going around...)
Nice Blog!!!   I thought I'd tell you about a site that will let give you places where
you can make extra cash! I made over $800 last month. Not bad for not doing much. Just put in your
zip code and up will pop up a list of places that are available. I live in a small area and found quite
Get information about work from home parents
Post a Comment

king under the dome

doctorow makers

banks transition

kress steal sky

atwood year flood

roberts yellow blue tibia

wilson julian comstock

 ness ask and answer

collins catching fire

collins hunger games

sawyer flashforward

baker hotel

disch proteus

tan tales

mazzucchelli asterios

zebrowski empties

morrow shambling

hamilton cpt future

beckett genesis

meller evo rx


kurzweil transcend

sawyer wake

ness knife never letting go

barzak love we share

mcewan cement garden

holland sci-fi art

gladwell outliers

bittman food matters

baggini what's it all about

Still in progress:

ross rest is noise

aldiss billion year spree

pollan omnivore's dilemma

Mark R. Kelly

The opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of Mark R. Kelly, and do not reflect the editorial position of Locus Magazine.
Latest Posts

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?