New Study Reveals Reading Aloud to Kids Really Does Matter

Dad reading to child


A child’s reading behavior and attitude towards reading should always be a thing of importance to parents and caregivers. An interest in reading is more than just about developing a hobby, but it is about developing invaluable skills that will help a child throughout their young lives and beyond. Reading plays a key role in academic performance, personal development, and their ability to understand and communicate with others.

In a study performed by Scholastic and featured in the fifth edition of the Kids & Family Reading Report, the concluded results determined that early literacy was important, especially when parents read aloud to their children during the first five years of their life.

According to the study, most of the 2,558 parents surveyed began reading to their children ages 0 to 5 aloud at home anywhere from as much as 5 to 7 days a week. But as their children got older, these numbers diminished significantly. Even though parents acknowledged the importance of reading and wanted their children to enjoy reading, many (if not most) parents ceased reading to their children once they were able to read independently on their own. Despite this, 40 percent of surveyed children ages 6 to 11 actually wished their parents still read aloud to them.

Researchers working on this study were also interested in patterns that may influence whether children became frequent or infrequent readers. For many frequent readers, aged 6 to 17, there were several factors contributed to their love for reading – but one of the more striking ones included having parents that were not only frequent readers in their own right and parents who read aloud to them often, starting at an early age. The study also revealed that 41 percent of frequent readers ages 6 to 10 were read aloud to at home, while only 13 percent of infrequent readers were being read to.

As much as factors like reading aloud can help encourage kids to read more on their own and to be better readers, these behaviors can also result from “a whole constellation of other things that goes on in those families,” said Timothy Shanahan, professor emeritus of urban education at the University of Illinois at Chicago and a past president of the International Reading Association. Regardless, it is still worthy to note the numbers when it comes to parents who consistently read aloud to their kids and those who do not – so if you are thinking of foregoing that bedtime story, you may want to think again.