The United States may have the "No Child Left Behind" policy, but it's Scotland whose really putting the phrase to good use. On Wednesday, The National shared the news that every single child in the country will automatically receive a library card.
The cards will be given at birth or when the child is old enough to attend school — all in an attempt to improve literacy rates, which surveys say have dropped over the years. From 2012 to 2014, grade 4 children went from an 83 percent efficiency in literacy to 78 percent.
With complaints that the Scottish government had "dropped the ball," First Minister Nicola Sturgeon pledged £80,000 (or roughly $9,1078.40) to the year-long pilot program.
"Now, thanks to £80,000 Scottish government funding, every local authority in Scotland will trial methods to give children automatic membership to their local library," he said, per the BBC.
"Libraries can empower communities — often in our most deprived areas where we know that young people can have lower levels of literacy and numeracy."
Multiple studies have found that the benefits of reading definitely outweigh any monetary cost.
One commissioned by literacy charity The Reading Agency surveyed 51 papers and reports on the subject over the last 10 years and found that, aside from the obvious and proven increased cognitive ability, reading also improves kids' mental health, including increased self-esteem and decreased chances of developing depression or dementia.
It's just about giving kids the chance and accessibility to reading in the first place — something the U.S. knows all too well.
According to the Reading is Fundamental site, 40 percent of American fourth-graders are not proficient at the basic level of reading, a commonality among low-income families.
Scotland's solution is a step on the right direction.
"Access to books and learning materials will help us to make sure that every child has the opportunity to get excited about reading," he said.
Cover image Cams/Flickr