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Child Literacy Statistics

Jennifer L. Betts
Boy reading book at desk

How important is it to read to kids? What do those yearly tests for reading mean? Everyone knows that reading is important, but the statistics can show just how important it is.

Reading to Children at Home

Literacy is important at any age. You might not think that reading at home will make a difference but it does. Look at these statistics from the National Education Association.

  • Twenty-six percent of kids can recognize the alphabet when they are read to 3 or more times by family a week.
  • Frequently read to kids are 60% more likely to count to 20.
  • Kids are 54% more likely to write their name when read to frequently.
  • Children are 77% more likely to read or pretend to read when read to frequently.
Mother and daughter reading book on sofa

School Literacy Statistics

Understanding the literacy statistics for various ages at school is important to understanding how to improve literacy. Check out a few important statistics.

Literacy Based on Class

Every reader should have equal rights to an education. However, statistics show that the lower your socio-economic class, the harder it is to be a proficient reader.

  • Poor children for at least a year were not reading proficient by third grade, according to Annie E. Casey Foundation.
  • Less than half of low-income students came to kindergarten with proficiency in math and reading skills.
  • Eight point seven million kids from low-income homes from kindergarten through 5th grade were not proficient in reading.

Practice Makes Perfect

Giving kids access to books and reading earlier in life can help them to be successful readers. Not only that but it is important to practice reading and spend more time around reading. The statistics prove it.

  • Early reading scores are higher by about 20 points for kids that have more access to books at home.
  • Three quarters of kids that read for fun about once a week had higher reading test sores.
  • Kids that read for 15 minutes a day had accelerated reading gains compared to those who read less, according to Renaissance.
  • Kids that read for 30 minutes a day had the highest reading gains, stated Renaissance.
  • Reading 20 minutes a day exposes kids to about 2 million words every year.
Girl laying on floor with books

Why the Numbers Matter

Looking at the statistics is important to understanding the trends in reading. Not only can you see where kids are having trouble in reading but you can create plans of action to improve reading for those struggling groups. For example, knowing that less than half of students with low-income are proficient readers can help you to create a plan to help your students or children that might be falling behind. The statistics show where efforts for improvements should be focused. For example, it is important to focus on reading early. Knowing the statistics about reading to kids at home can show parents the importance. These statistics can be used in a number of areas to improve reading levels and help you to understand why some students might be falling short.

What You Can Do

Now that you know the facts, it's time to put them into action. Looking at the statistics, you can see the programs or tactics that improve readers. For example, to improve literacy, you might:

  • Encourage parents to read to their toddlers and preschoolers three or more times a week.
  • Teachers might work on creating a literacy program in their area for low income children from kindergarten to 5th grade.
  • Encourage children to read for 15-30 minutes a day. You might even create a nightly reading requirement.
  • Buy used or new books to have at home for kids to see and read.
  • Take children to the library to find books that they enjoy reading.
  • Look together at books online to help kids find genres they like to read for fun.
  • Use the statistics to create literacy activities.

Improving Literacy

Literacy is important. Readers are more likely to be successful in school and graduate. Exposing children to reading material, reading to children and having them read for fun can all improve literacy. The facts prove it.

Child Literacy Statistics