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About Reading Aloud

Reading to young children promotes language acquisition and literacy development and, later on, achievement in reading comprehension and overall success in school. The percentage of young children read aloud to daily by a family member is one indicator of how well young children are prepared for school. In particular, a mother's education is consistently related to whether or not children are read to by a family member.
  • In 1999, 53 percent of children ages 3 to 5 were read to daily by a family member, the same as in 1993 after increasing to 57 percent in 1996.
  • As a mother's education increases, so does the likelihood that her child is read to every day. In 1999, 70 percent of children whose mothers were college graduates were read aloud to every day. In comparison, daily reading aloud occurred for 53 percent of children whose mothers had some postsecondary education, 44 percent whose mothers had completed high school but had no education beyond that, and 38 percent whose mothers had not completed high school.
  • White, non-Hispanic children are more likely to be read aloud to every day than either black, non-Hispanic or Hispanic children. Sixty-one percent of white, non-Hispanic children, 41 percent of black, non-Hispanic children, and 33 percent of Hispanic children were read to every day.
  • Children in families with incomes below the poverty line are less likely to be read aloud to every day than are children in families with incomes at or above the poverty line. Thirty-eight percent of children in families in poverty were read to every day in 1999, down from 46 percent in 1996, compared with 58 percent of children in families at or above the poverty line, which is down from 61 percent in 1996.

Source: Family Reading. NCES Fast Facts. National Center for Education Statistics, U.S. Department of Education.