Bookshark. Bold. Engaging. Home Education

July 7, 2014
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ReadingIt’s well known that books should be placed at the center of any child’s academic career. From early childhood books to the works of Thoreau, Shelley, and Murakami, reading conveys concepts in an engaging and enjoyable way. But did you know that reading can do so much more than that?

Studies have shown that reading has a profound effect on intellectual and emotional development, and contributes to learning math, verbal skills, and empathy.

Analyzing the behavior of approx. 6,000 children born in 1970, researchers in England tested math, spelling, and vocabulary at different points and compared it to the subjects’ reading habits. They found that children between the ages of 10-16 who read regularly consistently scored higher on all three tests.

An American study, conducted by psychologists David Comer Kidd and Emanuele Castano, found that reading literary fiction produced more empathy in their subjects. The participants were better able to identify emotions in others if they had read more literature. One researcher explained that reading has that effect because “the same psychological processes are used to navigate fiction and real relationships.”

Given all the positive effects of reading, it’s no wonder that BookShark is so confident in our literature-based academic programs. We believe that exposing children to a wide array of many of the best books ever written promotes discussion, engagement, and creative thinking. Our curricula provide a map for your classroom, guiding the way to lifelong learning.

Learn more about Bookshark and purchase the curricula directly at

BookShark Reading Program

The Language Arts Challenge

BookShark Language Arts ProgramBookShark strives to craft excellent academic curricula, and we research and assess our products to ensure that our programs are consistently providing the best experience to both teachers and students. To this end, we have been utilizing focus groups at a charter school, which has been using our curricula for the past two years. Our research found that some parents lacked confidence in their teaching ability, and were therefore unable to assess how well their students were mastering new concepts. In response, we have made improvements to our Language Arts Instructor Guides that will help parents plan and execute the lessons:

  • Weekly Overviews
    Our research found that parents often felt unprepared for teaching the week’s lessons. To rectify this, we added weekly overviews to ensure that parents have a blueprint for their classroom.

  • Teacher Scripts
    Many parents were unsure of their own writing skills, and felt under-qualified to teach writing. So we’ve come up with handy scripts, written by elementary and middle school teachers, which parents can use to help them deliver a writing assignment and teach a writing concept.

  • Rubrics
    Assessing your child’s retention of subjects is always a hard, and we found that our focus group participants unanimously agreed that it would be helpful to have a consistent way to evaluate their children’s progress. So we created rubrics so that you can confidently calculate your child’s retention before moving on to the next lesson.

Writing is as complicated to teach as math, yet there are few resources for parents to know if they are teaching properly. We hope parents enjoy the improvements made to the program. The feedback to date has been very positive!

Check out the BookShark Language Arts program »



1. Liz Bury, “Reading literary fiction improves empathy, study finds,” The Guardian, October 8, 2013.

2. Anne E. Cunningham and Keith E. Stanovich, “What Reading Does for the Mind,”Journal of Direct Instruction (Summer 2001): 137.

3. Graeme Paton, “Reading for pleasure ‘boosts pupils’ results in maths,” The Telegraph, September 11, 2013.