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Parents’ read aloud habits and favorite books: National survey


Scholastic has just released “The Rise of Read-Aloud,” the first installment of new research from its Kids & Family Reading Report: 7th Edition. These new findings reveal that the message of reading aloud to support literacy and social emotional skills is breaking through, just in time for World Read Aloud Day on February 1. The research involved a survey of nearly 3,000 parents and children. Key findings include:

  • The percentage of parents reading aloud during a child’s first three months is up nearly 50 percent since 2014, the same year the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) issued guidelines around the importance of reading aloud for an infant’s development.
  • The number of 6–8 year-olds being read to 5–7 days a week is up 7 percent since 2016.
  • Read aloud is a partnership with both parents and kids actively choosing books, asking questions, page turning and making sound effects (and the more interactive, the more likely 6–11 year-olds are to become frequent readers).

While a majority of families (55 percent) read aloud 5–7 days a week before a child turns 6, this percentage starts to decline dramatically as the child gets older (and learns to read on his or her own); research, however, shows read-aloud frequency and continuing to read aloud even after a child can read on his own are key factors in predicting if children ages 6–11 will be frequent readers.

The survey also showed that among families with infants, there is a disparity related to income: lower income families are less likely to have received information about the importance of reading from birth than are higher income families.

Not surprising to parents whose children balk at reading assigned books, the survey showed that a large majority (89 percent) of kids ages 6-17 say their favorite books are those they’ve picked out themselves.

Additional highlights of the Rise of Read-Aloud report

Parents surveyed stated that diversity in books for their children should go beyond culture; 73 percent want books to include people and experiences that are different than those of their children; 68 percent what to see various cultures, customs or religions; 51 percent want the books to include differently abled people (physically and/or emotionally); 47 percent want people of color; and 21 percent want their kids to read about LGBTQ people.

On average, families across America with kids ages 0–17 have 104 children’s books in their homes. Kids ages 6–17 who are frequent readers have, on average, 141 children’s books in their homes — more than twice as many as kids who are infrequent readers. 

Finally, parents’ favorite book series for their kids were Harry Potter, Dr. Seuss, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Magic Tree House, and Chronicles of Narnia.

For 10 years, World Read Aloud Day (WRAD) has called attention to the importance of sharing stories by challenging participants to grab a book, find an audience, and read aloud. The global effort is now celebrated in over 173 countries,

 

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