Saturday, July 31, 2010

Reading Aloud to Children -- Who Does?

A friend of mine recently took her 15 month-old son for a wellness check-up. The pediatrician commented on how well his vocabulary was growing and inquired if my friend read aloud to him. My friend, an avid reader and book lover like myself, acknowledged that, yes she did read aloud to her son daily. She stated that she loved reading and loved to share her passion for books with her son. The pediatrician responded that reading aloud made such a good impact on children's development and that it was so sad how few parents actually take time to read to their children.

This got me wondering. How many parents actually read aloud to their children?

I am no expert on reading statistics so I did what most people would do... I searched the Internet and found a few statistics as reported by the The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES Fast Facts, Family Reading) in 2001. Their study showed a range depending on the age of the child, as well as the race and family income level. Still the statistics are astounding! For two year-olds the highest percentage of children read to by an adult (eg. parent) is still under 60% with the lowest being under 30%. It was worse with four year-olds as the high end was only 50% and the low end dropped to 20%!

I realize that literacy is definitely a serious problem in the 21st century and it grieves me to see it perpetuated in future generations. It also bothers me that so few parents (who can read) do not take more advantage of the free books offered through public libraries. With such availability I think there should be no excuse to share 30 minutes a day to read, tell stories, or look at pictures books with a child. As they saying goes: #Fail!


Carrie said...

Wow! That's incredible!

Bookworm2 just recently got into reading and Bookworm1 is becoming more active and less interested in sitting down with a book. However, whether or not they are feeling immediately inclined, I do set aside special reading time every day. And they both clearly know that if you want to find out information about something - you go to a book (or to the computer, but whatever.) ;)

Alyce said...

We've always read to our kids right before bed, and we are willing to read with them whenever they'd like to (within reason), but as they have gotten older they are more active and want less reading time. Of course my oldest can read on his own now, but we still do story time before bed. We also listen to audio books, which while not as interactive, are nice for giving my voice a rest for the longer books.