New Harris Poll Reads Into Connections Between Family Reading Time And Achievements Later In Life

Frequent story time also correlates to stronger parent-child bonds, deeper love of reading

04:00 PM EST Feb 29, 2016 Rating
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New Harris Poll Reads Into Connections Between Family Reading Time And Achievements Later In Life

New York, N.Y. — Bedtime stories and other family reading rituals have long been part of growing up,  recognized far and wide as contributing to linguistic and cognitive development. What’s more, a new Harris Poll finds that frequent family reading time correlates with numerous additional benefits, both in childhood and later in life.  

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll® of 2,193 U.S. adults surveyed online between January 13 and 18, 2016.

Feelin’ the love

First off, more frequent reading times coincide with stronger parent-child bonds:

More frequent family reading can foster more than just familial love – it coincides with a stronger love of reading as well. Among adults whose parents read to them every day, over seven in 10 (72%) strongly agree that they love to read. This love of reading is considerably less pronounced among those whose parents read to them less often (57% among those read to once or several times per week, 52% among those read to less than once a week, and 47% among those who were never read to).

Similar trends carry through among children. Half of those read to every day (51%) strongly agree that they love to read, compared to four in 10 (39%) among those read to a few times per week or less.

Later life benefits

Reading times correlate to much more than just family bonding and a love of reading, though. In fact, reading to kids frequently could give them a leg up in many ways later in life:

 


TABLE 1a

STATEMENTS ABOUT READING AND PARENT/CHILD RELATIONSHIPS

Summary Grid

“How strongly to you agree or disagree with the following statements?”

Base: All adults

 

Agree (NET)

Strongly agree

Somewhat agree

Disagree (NET)

Somewhat disagree

Strongly disagree

Not applicable

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

I have a strong relationship with my child(ren).*

93

76

17

7

4

4

-

I love to read.

82

55

27

18

11

7

-

I have/had a strong relationship with my parent(s).

79

53

26

17

9

8

4

I wish I had more time to read with my kids.*

71

38

33

29

14

14

-

I read my kids the same books I loved reading as a child.*

69

34

35

31

16

15

-

I wish my parents had spent more time reading with me.

53

26

28

37

20

17

9

Note: Percentages may not add up to exactly 100% due to rounding; * indicates only asked among parents.

 

TABLE 1b

STATEMENTS ABOUT READING AND PARENT/CHILD RELATIONSHIPS

Summary of Strongly Agree

By Frequency Read To By Parents

“How strongly to you agree or disagree with the following statements?”

Base: All adults

 

Total

Parents Read To You

Ever (Net)

Every day

Once or several times/week

Less than once/week

Never

%

%

%

%

%

%

I have a strong relationship with my child(ren).*

76

78

81

75

77

76

I love to read.

55

62

72

57

52

47

I have/had a strong relationship with my parent(s).

53

65

74

64

52

33

I wish I had more time to read with my kids.*

38

43

57

38

24

35

I read my kids the same books I loved reading as a child.*

34

41

61

29

26

21

I wish my parents had spent more time reading with me.

26

23

22

22

26

36

Note: Percentages may not add up to exactly 100% due to rounding; * indicates only asked among parents.


TABLE 2

PERSONAL INCOME

By Frequency Read To By Parents

“Which of the following income categories best describes your total 2015 personal income?”

Base: All Adults

 

Total

Parents Read To You

Ever (Net)

Every day

Once or several times/week

Less than once/week

Never

%

%

%

%

%

%

<$50K

39

34

35

30

41

48

>$50K (NET)

52

59

58

64

50

42

$50K – Less than $75K

15

18

18

17

18

12

$75K – Less than $100K

13

13

9

17

11

11

$100K or more

25

28

31

29

20

20

Note: Percentages may not add up to exactly 100% due to rounding

 

TABLE 3

COMPLETED EDUCATION

By Frequency Read To By Parents

“What is the highest level of education you have completed or the highest degree you have received?”

Base: All Adults

 

Total

Parents Read To You

Ever (Net)

Every day

Once or several times/week

Less than once/week

Never

%

%

%

%

%

%

Completed high school or less

39

32

30

28

46

49

Completed college (such as B.A., B.S.)

17

20

27

17

12

13

Completed graduate degree (such as

MBA, MS, M.D., Ph.D.)

11

13

13

15

8

7

Note: Percentages may not add up to exactly 100% due to rounding

 

TABLE 4a

STATEMENTS ABOUT READING AND PARENT/CHILD RELATIONSHIPS

Summary Grid

“How strongly to you agree or disagree with the following statements?”

Base: All children ages 8-18

 

Agree (NET)

Strongly agree

Somewhat agree

Disagree (NET)

Somewhat disagree

Strongly disagree

%

%

%

%

%

%

I have/had a strong relationship with my parent(s)/guardian(s).

94

73

21

6

4

2

I love to read.

80

45

35

20

15

5

My parent(s)/guardian(s) share books with me which they loved when they were children.

80

41

39

20

13

7

I wish my parent(s)/guardian(s) spent more time reading to me.

37

8

28

63

39

24

Note: Percentages may not add up to exactly 100% due to rounding

 

 

TABLE 4b

STATEMENTS ABOUT READING AND PARENT/CHILD RELATIONSHIPS

Summary of Strongly Agree

By Frequency with Which Respondent Was Read To By Their Parents

“How strongly to you agree or disagree with the following statements?”

Base: All children ages 8-18

 

Total

Parents Read To You

At least once a week (NET)

At least once a day (NET)

More than once a day

Once a day

A few times a week

Once a week or less

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

I have/had a strong relationship with my parent(s)/guardian(s).

73

76

81

86

79

72

66

I love to read.

45

46

51

62

46

39

39

My parent(s)/guardian(s) share books with me which they loved when they were children.

41

44

52

57

51

35

30

I wish my parent(s)/guardian(s) spent more time reading to me.

8

8

8

8

8

8

13

Note: Percentages may not add up to exactly 100% due to rounding

 

TABLE 5

 DO PARENTS READ TO THEIR CHILDREN?

 “Do you currently or did you ever read to your child? This could be any sort of reading material (e.g., fiction or non-fiction) meant for any age range.”

Base: Parents

 

Total

%

Has ever read to their child (NET)

94

Yes, I currently do

47

Yes, but not anymore

48

No, never

6

Note: Percentages may not add up to exactly 100% due to rounding

 


TABLE 6

FREQUENCY WITH WHICH PARENTS READ TO THEIR CHILDREN

 “And continuing to think about the same child, which of the following best describes how often you typically read to them.”

Base: Parents Who Read To Children

 

Total

%

Every day

39

Once or several times a week (NET)

39

A few times a week

34

Once a week

5

A few times a month

7

Not sure

15

Note: Percentages may not add up to exactly 100% due to rounding

 

TABLE 7

FREQUENCY WITH WHICH RESPONDENTS’ PARENTS READ TO THEM

 “Now thinking about when you were under the age of 10, which of the following best describes how often your parents typically read to you?”

Base: All Adults

 

Total

%

Ever (NET)

75

Every day

22

Once or several times a week (NET)

27

A few times a week

23

Once a week

4

A few times a month

10

Not sure

16

Never

25

Note: Percentages may not add up to exactly 100% due to rounding

 


TABLE 8

ARE CHILDREN READ TO BY PARENTS?

 “Do/Did your parent(s)/guardian(s) ever read to you? When answering, please consider any sort of reading material meant for any age range.”

Base: All children ages 8-18

 

Total

 

 

%

Have ever been read to by parents (NET)

94

Yes, they currently read to me.

29

Yes, they used to read to me but not anymore.

66

No, they never read to me.

6

Note: Percentages may not add up to exactly 100% due to rounding

 

TABLE 9

FREQUENCY WITH WHICH CHILDREN ARE READ TO BY PARENTS

 “Which of the following best describes how often your parent(s)/guardian(s) typically/used to read to you?”

Base: Children whose parents currently/used to read to them

 

Total

%

At least once a month (NET)

95

At least once a week (NET)

89

At least once a day (NET)

51

More than once a day

15

Once a day

36

A few times a week

34

Once a week

4

A few times a month

5

Once a month

1

Less often than once a month

2

Not sure

3

Note: Percentages may not add up to exactly 100% due to rounding


Methodology

This Harris Poll was conducted online, in English, within the United States between January 13 and 18, 2016 among 2,252 adults (aged 18 and over). Additional polling was conducted online in the United States between January 19 and 29, 2016 among 1,158 children between the ages of 8 and 18. Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online. 

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, The Harris Poll avoids the words “margin of error” as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Poll surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in our panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

The results of this Harris Poll may not be used in advertising, marketing or promotion without the prior written permission of The Harris Poll.

Product and brand names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners.

The Harris Poll® #15, February 29, 2016

By Larry Shannon-Missal, Managing Editor, The Harris Poll

About The Harris Poll®

Begun in 1963, The Harris Poll is one of the longest running surveys measuring public opinion in the U.S. and is highly regarded throughout the world. The nationally representative polls, conducted primarily online, measure the knowledge, opinions, behaviors and motivations of the general public. New and trended polls on a wide variety of subjects including politics, the economy, healthcare, foreign affairs, science and technology, sports and entertainment, and lifestyles are published weekly. 

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