The Myth of Reading to Children

“Decade after decade of research shows that the amount of time a child spends listening to parents and other loved ones read is a good predictor of the level of reading attained years later.” -Maryanne Wolf

While the quote above is true, I often find myself needing to explain to people the idea of “confounding variables.”  In other words, you could take similar studies from those same demographics as above comparing the socioeconomic status of those parents and find largely the same results.  Why?  Because affluent parents have money to buy books and the time to read the books because their advanced degree status affords them time to read stories to their children (largely because they are paid more per hour usually for less strenuous work).

Although the importance of reading to children cannot be emphasized enough, the real question is, “When will we, as a people, decide that reading to children is worth enough to start paying people rightly for all jobs – no matter how small – and to give them enough time off to properly read to their children?”  Such a question poses a deeper and more pressing question to the public.  Namely, how much are we willing to really decry such statistics without doing something about the statistics?

The famous educational philosopher and practitioner, Paulo Fiere, once said, not unlike the author of the book of James in the New Testament, “To affirm that men and women are persons and as persons should be free, and yet do nothing tangible to make this affirmation a reality, is a farce.”


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