Reading regularly with a parent or caregiver improves young children’s language development, early reading skills, and school readiness. Hearing the varied and complex words in children’s books builds children’s vocabulary, which helps with early reading.1When adults read with young children and engage them in rich conversations, children:
- Develop larger vocabularies
- Learn to read more easily
- Grow stronger emotionally2
Children who have books in their homes and are read to during the first years of life are more likely to have higher literacy skills in kindergarten.3 Having books in the home builds early literacy by:
- Improving children’s reading performance
- Helping them learn the basics of reading
- Allowing them to read more and for longer periods of time
- Improving their attitudes toward reading and learning.4
- Gardner-Neblett, N. & Gallagher, K.C. (2013). More than baby talk: 10 ways to promote the language and communication skills of infants and toddlers. Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute. Retrieved from http://mtbt.fpg.unc.edu/sites/mtbt.fpg.unc.edu/files/imce/documents/BabyTalk_WEB.pdf ↵
- Strickland, D. (n.d.). Early Literacy: Policy and Practice in the Preschool Years, Reading Rockets, p. 1. Retrieved January 14, 2017 from http://www.readingrockets.org/article/early-literacy-policy-and-practice-preschool-years ↵
- Reach Out and Read. (2013). Research Summary: The Evidence. Retrieved from https://www.reachoutandread.org/FileRepository/Research_Summary.pdf ↵
- Learning Point Associates, American Institutes of Research. (2010). Access to Print Materials Improves Children’s Reading: A Meta-Analysis of 108 Most Relevant Studies Shows Positive Impacts. Retrieved from http://literacyandbeyond.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Access-to-Print-Materials-Meta-Analysis.pdf ↵
What Can We Do About It?
What supports reading with children?
- A comprehensive, state-wide plan for promoting early reading with children
- Smart use of technology
- Research-based practices and programs that improve adults’ knowledge and skills of how to best read with children
What Works for Third Grade Reading: Reading with Children
This brief considers why early reading with children matters for third grade reading proficiency, outlines its connection with other factors that impact early literacy, and highlights options that have been shown to move the needle on children’s social-emotional health outcomes. It is one of 12 new working papers that offer research-based policy, practice and program options to states and communities working to improve third grade reading proficiency.
Research Basis for Pathways Measures of Success Framework
This resource provides data definitions of the Measures of Success and shares the research for each measure, demonstrating the connections between the measures and third-grade reading proficiency. A list of sources is included for each group of measures.
What Works for Third Grade Reading: An Overview of the NC Pathways to Grade-Level Reading
The paper provides an introduction to a series of 12 working papers that offer research-based policy, practice and program options to states and communities working to improve third grade reading proficiency. Read this document first before delving into the papers.
Choosing the Most Promising Early Literacy Interventions (Webinar)
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More About Reading with Children
Frequency of reading matters
Reading every day with very young children (starting at birth) is critical for their both their short- and longer-term language and literacy outcomes. Whether their parents read to them nearly every day is a factor that predicts whether young children will become frequent readers in the middle school years. Frequent readers read books for fun five to seven days a week. Among children ages six through 11 years, frequent readers read twice as many books as those children who read less often.1
- Scholastic. (2015). Kids & Family Reading Report. Retrieved from http://mediaroom.scholastic.com/press-release/national-survey-kids-and-parents-provides-insight-what-makes-children-frequent-readers ↵
Family reading behavior varies by family income, race/ethnicity and children’s age
Research has found that family reading behavior varies by family income, race/ethnicity, and children’s age.1
Family Income. High income parents of children under six are more likely (75 percent) than low-income parents (47 percent) to say that they were told to read aloud to their children from the time they are born.2 This information gap may contribute to variations in reading behavior. Children growing up in lower-income families:
- Are read to less often
- Have access to a smaller number of children’s books in their homes
- Develop dramatically smaller vocabularies in the early years
- Have parents who read less often themselves3
Race/Ethnicity. Nationally, as well as in North Carolina, data collected within the past five years reveals that a lower percentage of Hispanic parents report reading to their children every day than do white and black parents. More white parents than black parents report reading to their children every day.4 Having access to books that include characters “who look like me” is important for young children’s early literacy.5
Children’s Age. For many parents, reading with children begins early. A recent Scholastic survey found:
- 30 percent of parents with children under six say that they began reading to their child when he/she was three months old.
- 75 percent report that they started reading aloud to their child before the age of one year.
Those reading experiences change as children age, however.
- Over half of parents of children under three, and 63 percent of parents of 3-5 year olds read aloud to their children 5-7 days a week.
- Only 38 percent of parents of 6-8 year olds and 17 percent of parents of 9-11 year olds report reading aloud to their children 5-7 times a week.6
- Reading to Young Children: Databank Indicator, Child Trends, undated. Retrieved January 14, 2017 http://www.childtrends.org/indicators/reading-to-young-children/, New Survey on Bedtime Reading, Reading is Fundamental, 2014 ↵
- Scholastic, Kids & Family Reading Report, op cit. ↵
- New Survey on Bedtime Reading, op cit. ↵
- Data Resource Center on Child and Adolescent Health. (n.d.). Family Reads to Children, 2011-2012 National Survey of Children’s Health. Retrieved January 14, 2017 from http://www.childhealthdata.org/browse/survey/results?q=2284&r=1 ↵
- Scholastics, Kids & Family Reading Report, op cit. ↵
- Scholastics, Kids & Family Reading Report, op cit. ↵