More than 90 percent of parents regularly read to their children before they turn 6, but kids say they stop too soon. A Scholastic survey released this week found that nearly half of kids no longer read with their parents but want to.
"There's that immediate connection and that eye-to-eye joint attention," New York University professor Susan Neuman told NPR. "The parent is not looking at her cell phone or his cell phone. She is focusing on the child and the book."
Research supports the activity. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommended in June that parents read out loud to their kids every day until they at least reach kindergarten, the Los Angeles Times reported.
In the Scholastic survey, parents who read to their kids said they wanted to them to develop vocabulary skills, enjoy books and start learning about letters. About two-thirds of parents told Scholastic they saw reading aloud as a way to bond with their children, but 23 percent stopped the practice before their children turned 9. Motivations behind that included the kids' ability and desire to read independently, according to the survey.
Still, eight in 10 children said they liked or loved being read to. The same percentage said they saw reading sessions as a special time with their mom or dad. Kids also cited the fun and relaxation of reading, being able to listen to harder books and hearing voices their parents would use for the characters.
"I don’t think that parents know how important that time is and the role that it plays in children’s lives," YouGov partner Kristen Harmeling told the New York Times. YouGov partnered with Scholastic to compile the Kids and Family Reading Report after interviewing 2,558 parents and children last fall.
Wondering what you should you read to your youngster? Read Aloud America recently released its 2015 list of books selected for read-aloud appeal, variety of characters and strong plot, among other qualities. Below are a few suggestions grouped by age.
For infants and toddlers: "Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?" by Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle; "Corduroy Goes to the Beach" by B.G. Hennessy and Lisa McCue; "Put on Your Shoes!" by Dan Stiles
For pre-K and kindergarten students: "Harold and the Purple Crayon" by Crockett Johnson; "Are You My Mother?" by P.D. Eastman; "The Watermelon Seed" by Greg Pizzoli
For first- and second-graders: "Lilly's Big Day" by Kevin Henkes; "June B., First Grader: Aloha-Ha-Ha!" by Barbara Park and Denise Brunkus; "A Big Guy Took My Ball!" by Mo Willems
For third- and fourth-graders: "Igraine the Brave" by Cornelia Funke; "Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret" by Judy Blume; "The Wind in the Willows" by Kenneth Grahame
For fifth- and sixth-graders: "Peter and the Starcatchers" by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson; "The Wizard of Oz" by L. Frank Baum; "A Series of Unfortunate Events" by Lemony Snicket
For seventh- and eighth-graders: "Hokey Pokey" by Jerry Spinelli; "The Graveyard Book" by Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean; "Picture Me Gone" by Meg Rosoff
For ninth- through 12th-graders: "The Fault in Our Stars" by John Green; "Shiver" by Maggie Stiefvater; "The 5th Wave" by Rick Yancey