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Survey finds low-income children more likely to watch TV than read a book

LatinaLista — A person, no matter how old they are, can count on their fingers to help them add and subtract but there’s no body part that can be used to help someone read. Reading comes from recognizing letters, knowing their sounds and putting it all together to form words and sentences — skills that require the brain. Not exactly something that we can see with our eyes.

Yet, what can be seen, and heard, by those who are just starting the reading process, especially young children, is someone reading a book. While there may be library storytimes and teachers will read a book to their students, there’s no substitute for parents reading bedtime stories — if only they would.

A survey of 1,000 parents by Reading is Fundamental (RIF) found that only 33 percent of parents with children eight years old or younger settle down with their kids and a book on a nightly basis.

It’s not necessarily because the parents are tired from their jobs or that kids are exhausted after a long day but rather because, as 50 percent of the parents reported, it’s because the kids would rather play video games or watch TV.

What these parents and the kids don’t understand is that it’s not the reading the children do in school that will help them with their reading skills but the time they read books out of school.

As the global economy becomes more sophisticated and depends on workers with higher level skills — which will require reading and understanding directions, operational processes and analysis — it’s imperative that all children have high literacy and comprehension rates.

But at this rate, as a nation, we’re not going to get there.

To help raise awareness that the way to improve children’s reading abilities starts at home, RIF and Macy’s have joined forces for their tenth year this summer to sponsor the annual national literacy campaign, Be Book Smart.

Through the campaign, children in underserved communities receive free books and are provided with literacy resources.

From June 21–July 21, 2013, Macy’s customers can give $3 to provide a book for a child and receive a coupon for $10 off* a $50 in-store purchase at any Macy’s nationwide. Macy’s will give 100% of every $3 to RIF.

In addition to half the parents surveyed confessing that books are not their children’s first choice of entertainment, other findings from the survey revealed equally enlightened nuggets:

Findings on the amount of time spent reading:

  • Eighty-seven percent of parents say they currently read bedtime stories with theirchildren.
  • But only one in three parents (33 percent) read bedtime stories daily with their children.
  • Children of families with an annual household income below $35,000 are more likely to watch TV (40 percent) than read books (35 percent).

Findings on printed book use

  • Printed books (76 percent) are the format of choice for most parents of children ageeight and younger.
  • Twice as many children prefer a printed book (20 percent) over an e-book (9 percent),say parents who read both types of books to their children.
  • Less than one in five parents (17 percent) use a combination of printed and e-books.Existing research on literacy shows the importance of starting early:

Existing research on literacy shows the importance of starting early:

  • Children who don’t read well by the end of third grade are four times more likely to dropout of high school than proficient readers, according to a report by the Annie E. CaseyFoundation.
  • Two-thirds of U.S. fourth graders – and more than four-fifths of those from low-incomefamilies – are not reading proficiently, according to the 2011 National Assessment of Educational Progress

Bedtime Stories Infographic

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