From the National Center for Education Statistics report America's Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, here are some interesting (startling?) data on reading.
In 2005, 60 percent of children ages 3–5 who were not yet in kindergarten were read to daily by a family member. This rate is higher than the rate in 1993 (53 percent), but the rate fluctuated in intervening years.The fact that 40% of children in this country were NOT read to every day is very discouraging. Jen Robinson has done a great job over at the PBS Parents Expert Q&A and on her blog collecting and sharing a range of ideas for helping kids learn to enjoy reading. (You can even download a pdf file of all these great tips!) However, none of these tips will help if parents aren't reading to kids. This is an issue of race, class and education. My question to you is, how do we reach out to folks who don't read blogs, or much of anything else, and get them to understand how incredibly important reading to children is, and what a long-term impact this practice (or lack of it) makes?
In 2005, 72 percent of children whose mothers had at least a bachelor’s degree were read to every day. In comparison, daily reading occurred for 60 percent of children whose mothers had some postsecondary education, 55 percent of children whose mothers had a high school diploma or equivalent but no further education, and 41 percent of children whose mothers had less than a high school diploma.
White, non-Hispanic and Asian, non-Hispanic children were more likely to be read to every day than either Black, non-Hispanic or Hispanic children. Sixty-eight percent of White, non-Hispanic children, 66 percent of Asian, non-Hispanic children, 50 percent of Black, non-Hispanic children, and 45 percent of Hispanic children were read to every day by a family member.
Children in families with incomes of 200 percent or more of the poverty level were more likely to be read to daily by a family member (65 percent) than were children in families with incomes below the poverty level (50 percent) or those in families with incomes 100–199 percent of the poverty level (60 percent) in 2005.
Children living with two parents were more likely to be read to every day than were children living with one parent. Sixty-two percent of children in two-parent households were read to every day in 2005, compared with 53 percent of children living with one parent.
Children in the Northeast (66 percent), Midwest (62 percent), and West (61 percent) were more likely than their peers in the South (56 percent) to have been read to daily by a family member in 2005.