Eighty-five percent of Indiana children under age six have relatives reading to them at least three times a week, according to a recent study. That percentage ties Indiana with Connecticut, Iowa, Michigan, North Dakota, and Utah among the top reading states.
Reading with family usually indicates a child has a nurturing home environment and adequate attention, says the Annie E. Casey Foundation study. Reading is also the most important thing parents can do to ensure a child doesn’t need preschool or remediation.
“When we welcome our new kindergarten students, it’s obvious which ones have been read to at home and which ones have not,” principal Mark Conrad told the Herald Times.
It is common for middle- and higher-income families to read to their children, but not for poorer families. The lack of reading, combined with typically less talking to children in poorer families, means a poor child will have heard two words for every seven her higher-income counterparts have heard. This verbal gap then tends to remain throughout the child’s life and is the main source of academic achievement gaps between children of different income levels.
Image by Stacy Brunner.