Trends in the Well-Being of America's Children and Youth, 2000. EA 3.1 Family-Child Engagement in Literacy Activities

01/01/2000

Numerous studies have documented the importance of parental involvement in literacy activities with their children. One of the National Education Goals stresses the importance of family/child engagement in literacy activities, especially among children who are “at risk” of school failure, in order for all children in the United States to be able to start school ready to learn.45

Table EA 3.1 presents three types of literacy activities that parents may engage in with their children. In 1999, a majority of 3- to 5-year-old children (53 percent) were read to by a parent or other family member every day. Fifty percent of children were regularly told stories in 1999 (three or more times a week), a substantial increase from 1991 levels (39 percent).

Differences by Race and Hispanic Origin.46 There are substantial differences in all literacy activities by race and Hispanic origin; for example, in 1999, white children were more likely to be read to every day (61 percent) than black children (41 percent) or Hispanic children (33 percent). Similarly, white children (53 percent) were more likely to be told a story frequently than either black or Hispanic children (45 and 40 percent respectively) (see Table EA 3.1). Also, more white children visited a library at least once in the past month in 1999 (39 percent) than either black children (35 percent) or Hispanic children (25 percent). These differences have been fairly stable over time.

Differences by Socioeconomic Status. Children in families living at or above the poverty threshold are much more likely to be engaged in literacy activities on a regular basis than are children who live in poverty; for example, in 1999, 58 percent of children in nonpoor families were read to every day by a parent or other family member, compared with 38 percent of children in poor families (see Figure EA 3.1). There are also substantial differences in literacy activities by mother’s education level. For example, about one-fifth (18 percent) of children whose mothers did not have a high school diploma visited a library once or more in the past month, compared with 30 percent of children whose mothers had graduated high school and 50 percent whose mothers were college graduates (see Table EA 3.1).

Differences by Family Structure. Children in two-parent families were more likely to participate in all three types of literacy activities than children who lived with one or no parent.

Differences by Mother’s Employment Status. Children whose mothers were employed 35 hours or more per week were slightly less likely to engage in any of the three literacy activities than children whose mothers were either working part-time or not working.

 

45 National Education Goals Panel. 1997. (Goal 1, p. xiv).
46 Estimates of whites and blacks exclude Hispanics of those races.

 

Table EA 3.1 Percentage of 3- through 5-year-oldsa in the United States who have participated in literacy activities with a family member, by child and family characteristics: 1991, 1993, 1995, 1996, and 1999

  Read to every day
 
Told a story at least three
 times a week
 Visited a library at least once
 in the past month
  1991 1993 1995 1996 1999 1991 1993 1995 1996 1999 1991 1993 1995 1996 1999
Total 53 58 57 53 39 43 50 55 50 35 38 39 37 36
Gender
Male 51 57 56 51 37 43 49 55 49 34 38 37 37 35
Female 54 59 57 54 41 43 51 56 50 36 38 41 36 38
Race and Hispanic originb
White 59 65 64 61 40 44 53 59 53 39 42 43 41 39
Black 39 43 44 41 34 39 42 47 45 25 29 32 31 35
Hispanic 37 38 39 33 38 38 42 47 40 23 26 27 27 25
Poverty status
At or above poverty 56 62 61 58 39 44 53 58 52 38 42 43 41 40
Below poverty 44 48 46 38 38 39 44 49 42 26 29 30 28 24
Family structurec
Two parents 55 61 61 57 39 44 52 59 52 38 41 43 40 40
One or no parent 46 49 46 42 37 41 46 47 44 23 30 30 29 29
Mother’s education leveld
Less than high school 37 40 37 38 34 37 39 47 36 16 22 20 19 18
High school/GED 48 48 49 44 38 41 48 54 48 29 31 33 31 30
Vocational/technical or some college 57 64 62 53 41 45 53 55 52 40 44 42 41 40
Graduated college 71 76 77 70 42 48 55 64 55 55 55 57 56 50
Mother’s employment statusd
35 hours or more per week 52 55 54 48 37 43 49 53 48 30 34 35 32
Less than 35 hours per week 56 63 59 55 40 45 53 56 55 41 47 46 39
Not in labor force 55 60 59 60 42 43 50 56 60 38 37 42 40 40

a Estimates are based on children who have yet to enter kindergarten.
b Persons of Hispanic origin may be of any race. Estimates for whites and blacks exclude persons of Hispanic origin.
c Parents include any combination of a biological, adoptive, step-, and foster mother and/or father. No parents in the household indicates that the child is living with nonparent guardians (e.g., grandparents).
d Children without mothers in the home are not included in estimates dealing with mother’s education or mother’s employment status. A mother is defined as a biological mother, adoptive mother, stepmother, foster mother, or female guardian (e.g., grandmother) who resides in the home with the child.
Sources: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, 1991, 1993, 1995, 1996, and 1999 National Household Education Survey (unpublished data); Tabulated by U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics; Estimates of “read to every day” as published in Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics, 1998, Table ED1.

 

Figure EA 3.1 Percentage of 3- through 5-year-olds in the United States who have participated in literacy activities with a family member, by poverty status: 1999

Sources: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, 1999 National Household Education Survey (unpublished data); Tabulated by U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics; Estimates of “read to every day” as published in Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics, 1998, Table ED1.

View full report

Preview
Download

"intro.pdf" (pdf, 633.22Kb)

Note: Documents in PDF format require the Adobe Acrobat Reader®. If you experience problems with PDF documents, please download the latest version of the Reader®

View full report

Preview
Download

"PF1.pdf" (pdf, 391.08Kb)

Note: Documents in PDF format require the Adobe Acrobat Reader®. If you experience problems with PDF documents, please download the latest version of the Reader®

View full report

Preview
Download

"PF2.pdf" (pdf, 574.76Kb)

Note: Documents in PDF format require the Adobe Acrobat Reader®. If you experience problems with PDF documents, please download the latest version of the Reader®

View full report

Preview
Download

"PF3.pdf" (pdf, 554.29Kb)

Note: Documents in PDF format require the Adobe Acrobat Reader®. If you experience problems with PDF documents, please download the latest version of the Reader®

View full report

Preview
Download

"ES1.pdf" (pdf, 338.59Kb)

Note: Documents in PDF format require the Adobe Acrobat Reader®. If you experience problems with PDF documents, please download the latest version of the Reader®

View full report

Preview
Download

"ES2.pdf" (pdf, 555.35Kb)

Note: Documents in PDF format require the Adobe Acrobat Reader®. If you experience problems with PDF documents, please download the latest version of the Reader®

View full report

Preview
Download

"ES3.pdf" (pdf, 582.37Kb)

Note: Documents in PDF format require the Adobe Acrobat Reader®. If you experience problems with PDF documents, please download the latest version of the Reader®

View full report

Preview
Download

"ES4.pdf" (pdf, 555.87Kb)

Note: Documents in PDF format require the Adobe Acrobat Reader®. If you experience problems with PDF documents, please download the latest version of the Reader®

View full report

Preview
Download

"HC1.pdf" (pdf, 373.14Kb)

Note: Documents in PDF format require the Adobe Acrobat Reader®. If you experience problems with PDF documents, please download the latest version of the Reader®

View full report

Preview
Download

"HC2.pdf" (pdf, 725.89Kb)

Note: Documents in PDF format require the Adobe Acrobat Reader®. If you experience problems with PDF documents, please download the latest version of the Reader®

View full report

Preview
Download

"HC3.pdf" (pdf, 586.99Kb)

Note: Documents in PDF format require the Adobe Acrobat Reader®. If you experience problems with PDF documents, please download the latest version of the Reader®

View full report

Preview
Download

"SD1.pdf" (pdf, 607.16Kb)

Note: Documents in PDF format require the Adobe Acrobat Reader®. If you experience problems with PDF documents, please download the latest version of the Reader®

View full report

Preview
Download

"SD2.pdf" (pdf, 628.97Kb)

Note: Documents in PDF format require the Adobe Acrobat Reader®. If you experience problems with PDF documents, please download the latest version of the Reader®

View full report

Preview
Download

"SD3.pdf" (pdf, 722.74Kb)

Note: Documents in PDF format require the Adobe Acrobat Reader®. If you experience problems with PDF documents, please download the latest version of the Reader®

View full report

Preview
Download

"SD4.pdf" (pdf, 689.79Kb)

Note: Documents in PDF format require the Adobe Acrobat Reader®. If you experience problems with PDF documents, please download the latest version of the Reader®

View full report

Preview
Download

"EA1.pdf" (pdf, 429.55Kb)

Note: Documents in PDF format require the Adobe Acrobat Reader®. If you experience problems with PDF documents, please download the latest version of the Reader®

View full report

Preview
Download

"EA2.pdf" (pdf, 633.06Kb)

Note: Documents in PDF format require the Adobe Acrobat Reader®. If you experience problems with PDF documents, please download the latest version of the Reader®

View full report

Preview
Download

"EA3.pdf" (pdf, 648.96Kb)

Note: Documents in PDF format require the Adobe Acrobat Reader®. If you experience problems with PDF documents, please download the latest version of the Reader®

View full report

Preview
Download

"Glossary.pdf" (pdf, 291.75Kb)

Note: Documents in PDF format require the Adobe Acrobat Reader®. If you experience problems with PDF documents, please download the latest version of the Reader®

View full report

Preview
Download

"Biblio.pdf" (pdf, 318.68Kb)

Note: Documents in PDF format require the Adobe Acrobat Reader®. If you experience problems with PDF documents, please download the latest version of the Reader®