Poverty Gap Closing on Kids & Reading


NEW YORK (MainStreet) – According to a newly released report by the Census Bureau, about half of all American children are read to by their parents on a daily basis. And while children from poor families are less likely to have family reading time on a regular basis, that gap is closing.

The report, Selected Indicators of Child Well-Being (A Child's Day), takes a look at some of the habits of children and their families from 2009 data. The most encouraging finding in the report is that half of all 1- and 2-year-olds are read to by their families at least seven times a week. As in past years, however, there is a clear dropoff when looking at the reading habits of poor families. Just 45% of toddlers in families below the poverty line are read to on a daily basis, compared with 56% of those in families living above the poverty line.

Still, this is one instance where the gap between the haves and have-nots is actually getting smaller. While the percentage of non-impoverished kids getting daily reading time has remained almost unchanged since 1998, the percentage of impoverished children getting their daily reading is up from just 37% in 1998.

The rate of family reading time is just one example of parents doing a better job of raising their kids. The same report found that kids are a bit more likely to eat dinner with a parent than they used to be, with 72% of kids doing so on a daily basis (up from 69% in 1998). And as a general rule parents are finding more time to spend with their kids. While just half of kids talked or played with their parents three times a day in 1998, as of 2009 that number has risen to 57%.

Children lose a lot of information and skills learned at school over the summer months. Here’s how to keep your child mentally engaged when he or she isn’t in class.

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