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Articles written by NIEER and published by outside organizations

Journal Articles

Who reads to young children? Identifying predictors of family reading activities.

December 19, 2017

By Yarosz, D. & Barnett, W. S. (2001).

Who reads to young children? Analyses of data from the National Household Education Survey of 1995 (NHES:95) are performed to investigate the influences on the frequency of parental reading to young children. The NHES:95 data set is based on a national survey of households utilizing random digit dialing methods and computer-assisted telephone interviewing (CATI) technology. Reports were obtained from the parents and guardians of a representative sample of 7,566 preschoolers and toddlers. Frequency of reading to children was found to vary by ethnicity, primary language spoken in the home, child’s age, number of siblings, and mother’s educational attainment. Income and number of parents in the home were not found to influence reading frequency when controlling for these other variables. Controlling for income, education, and family size and structure, there are differences among ethnic groups in reported frequency of families reading to children. The development of more culturally sensitive adult/ and or family literacy education may be called for, and parent education programs targeting those with the least education might be especially valuable. Further research aimed at understanding the associations between parental characteristics and reading to young children could contribute importantly to the development of improved literacy interventions for young children and their families.