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Report shows less than half of kids in California are being read to daily
Date:11/1/2007

A report released today reveals that California ranks in the bottom half of the nation 42nd out of 50 states and the District of Columbia in the percentage of children who are read to daily by their parents.

According to "Reading Across the Nation: A Chartbook," prepared by the UCLA Center for Healthier Children, Families and Communities for the nonprofit Reach Out and Read National Center, only 44.6 percent of Californian children between birth and the age of 5 are read to every day by a parent. The national average is 47.8 percent. California brings up the rear, along with a number of Southern and Southern border states.

For children, early exposure to books including being read to aloud each day is critical for long-term academic success. Research has shown that up to one-third of American children enter kindergarten underprepared to learn, mostly because their early years leave them without the necessary language and literacy skills.

"This report proves that physicians and policymakers have work to do," said Dr. Shirley Russ, associate clinical professor of pediatrics at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, who led the research team that compiled the report. "Early learning starts in the home with parents. We need to do more to ensure that parents have the information and tools they need to provide their children with a strong foundation for learning."

The report provides state-by-state information on the percentage of children whose parents read aloud to them daily. The statistics show that reading rates vary significantly by state, with Vermont posting 68 percent and Mississippi only 38 percent.

Among the findings for California:

  • Reading rates vary by race/ethnicity, with 58.5 percent of white (non-Hispanic) parents reporting daily reading, compared with a 37.9 percent average for all other groups.

  • Among children living in or near poverty, about one-third from
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Contact: Amy Albin
aalbin@mednet.ucla.edu
310-794-8672
University of California - Los Angeles
Source:Eurekalert

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