Only one in three parents of children ages eight and under reads stories to their kids each night, according to a new survey by the literacy organization Reading is Fundamental (RIF) and Macy’s. Overall, 87 percent of the parents who participated in the online poll read to their kids at bedtime—but not every night. Half the parents said that their children spend more time watching TV and playing video games than reading.
The national online survey of 1,003 parents, conducted in April, also found that in households with salaries under $35,000, 40 percent of kids under nine watched TV, while 35 percent read books.
Parents still favor reading print over ebooks with their kids, as 76 percent choose print while reading with their children, the poll showed. Kids also like paper better: nearly twice as many (20 percent) of those whose parents read from both formats would choose print over ebooks (nine percent).
In its release, RIF noted that kids who are poor readers by the end of third grade are four times more likely to drop out of high school than their more proficient peers, according to statistics. Two-thirds of all American fourth graders don’t read proficiently, and among lower-income families, that number rises to four fifths.
The results were released as RIF, which delivers free books and literacy materials to underserved children from birth to age eight, kicks off its 10th annual month-long “Be Book Smart” campaign. From June 21 to July 21, shoppers at any Macy’s store can donate $3 at the register to provide a book to a child in their community. Contributors receive $10 off a future Macy’s purchase of $50 or more. In a concurrent sweepstakes campaign, Macy’s will give a $500 gift certificate each week to one person who promotes RIF and reading on a Facebook app. Details: facebook.com/Macys or rif.org/sweeps.
Survey figures for race, ethnicity, education, region, household income, and number of children were weighted to be proportional to the overall population, according to an executive summary from Harris Interactive, the market research firm that compiled the online poll. Data was also weighted to reflect the mix of U.S. families nationally who have children under nine. Participants were chosen from those who agreed to participate in Harris Interactive polls.