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April 11, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- It's been nearly 2 decades since Hart-Risley's "
30 Million Word Gap" study, making the case that reading out loud to young children increases their vocabulary and, ultimately, overall academic success.
Given today's technology-assisted reading options, MeeGenius commissioned a new survey, conducted online by Harris Interactive in
April 2013, which sought to understand when the last time children ages 5 and younger were being read to by their parents (or read with their parents) in U.S. households. The study asked what, if anything, is preventing parents from reading more to their children ages 12 and younger.
The encouraging news is close to 4 out of 5 parents of children ages 5 and younger read with/to their children within the last week. However, nearly 90% of parents (of a child age 12 or younger) agree that their child could benefit from more time spent reading and/or being read to.
Ten years ago, it was the sole responsibility of a parent to ensure their child was read to enough and adequately prepared to enter Kindergarten. Today's technology allows us to expand a child's reading time, even when a parent isn't available. Apple's iPad®, the first mainstream tablet, and MeeGenius, one of the first reading apps, were both launched three years ago this month (in April, 2010). Children now have anywhere, anytime access to vast libraries of "read-to-me" e-books that highlight every spoken word.
In the poll, 57% of parents with a child ages 12 years or younger said access to a digital library of children's books would encourage more reading to and/or with their children.
Additional findings from this survey include:
86% believe their children could benefit from more time spent reading and/or being read to
79% of parents with young children (5 years old or younger) read with/to their child at least once last week
57% agreed having access to a digital library of children's books has and/or would encourage reading with/to their child more regularly
30% agreed they do not read with/to their child more often because they do not have enough time in the day to do so
Needs were similar across demographics including income, geography, household size and marital status
"I'm very encouraged" by the results said Wandy Hoh, CEO and Co-Founder of MeeGenius. "The great news is almost 4 out of 5 children were read to at least once last week – even better is parents desire to read more often." Hoh would like to see a more balanced media emphasis on reading proficiency in U.S. – on par with recent coverage for Math and Science. She believes increased attention will change both attitudes and behavior when it comes to early childhood literacy. "American parents, for the most part, have the time and desire to read more often to their children. And by offering them a reading platform that works across phones, tablets and PCs, we are hopeful to see a dynamic shift in behavior."