The link between parents, children and literacy

October 11, 2012

According to Reach Out and Read, 48 percent, or 13 million, young children under 5 in the U.S. are read to daily, meaning that they go to bed every night without a bedtime story. The percentage drops even lower (36 percent) among low-income families.

Why are the numbers so high? Why aren’t more parents reading to their children?

There are many reasons attributing to this troubling statistic:

  • Families in poverty may not have the funds to buy books or have access to libraries
  • Sixty-one percent of low-income families don’t have any children’s books in their home
  • Parents who weren’t read to as kids themselves may not understand the importance of reading to their children, so they don’t do it
  • Some parents struggle with reading so they may not want to a disappointment or be embarrassed.

Literacy is passed. Illiteracy, the condition of being unable to read or write, is passed along by parents who cannot read.

The previously-explained statistics can be combated by reading aloud, which has many benefits, including:

  • Early language skills, the foundation for reading ability and school readiness, are based primarily on language exposure – resulting from parents and other adults talking to young children.
  • Giving one-on-one attention to children while reading encourages them to form a positive connection with books and reading later in life.
  • Reading difficulty contributes to school failure, which increases the risk of absenteeism, leaving school, juvenile delinquency, substance abuse, and teenage pregnancy – all of which continue the cycles of poverty and dependency.

Children’s academic successes are strongly linked to that of their parents, especially their mother. Also, children often imitate their parents, whom they hold in a high regard. If they see mom or dad doing something, they’ll want to copy them. Some Project Learn students have a personal goal of earning their GED, not only so they can move on to the next phase of their lives, but so they can help their children with homework.

If you’d like to be a part of our GED program or want to be contacted to participate in family literacy programming, call 330-434-9461.

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