Book deserts “may seriously constrain young children’s opportunities to come to school ready to learn,” says professor Susan B. Neuman, lead author of a study which included several neighborhoods in the District.
[(USC Emeritus Professor) Steven] Kashen reports that book access and poverty are related but separate. On the one hand, “Children who live in poverty have fewer books in their homes, sometimes none. Fewer books in their neighborhood, fewer bookstores…inferior classroom libraries and school libraries.” HOWEVER, Kashen continues, reading ability is affected by book access independently of poverty. Giving children access to books can actually balance the effects of poverty: “Poor children don’t read well, because they don’t have access to books. You give them books, they do better.”
— from “Book Deserts and Their Effects” audio, text, citations and resources
at Education Town Hall