Families >> Reading/Telling Stories

Reading & Telling Stories to Children: Summary & Data Highlights

King County children 5 and younger are most likely to be read to every day if their parents were born in the U.S., are non-Hispanic White, and learned English as their first language.

Reading to young children promotes language development and sets the stage for success in school.  Listening to stories can help children build confidence and deal with their feelings.  In 2011, parents were asked how often in the previous week they or someone in their family had (a) read aloud to, and (b) told stories to each child age birth to 5 years.

Reading Aloud to Preschool-aged Children

  • 67% of King County children birth to age 5 were read to daily by parents or other family members; 3% of children were not read to during the previous week.
  • Daily reading was more likely among parents/guardians who:
    • Were born in the U.S.
    • Spoke English as their first language.
    • Were college graduates.
    • Earned incomes at or above $75,000.
    • Were non-Hispanic White rather than people of color.
    • Were in excellent, very good, or good health rather than fair or poor health.
  • Daily reading was not related to parental age, gender, employment, military service, or relationship status (data not shown).
  • Children living in Seattle were more likely than those living in the East Region to be read to daily.
  • Parents in King County overall, as well as those in Seattle and East Region, were more likely to read daily than tell stories daily to their children age 5 and under.

Telling Stories to Preschool-aged Children

  • 46% of King County children from birth to age 5 were told stories daily by parents or other family members; 11% were not told any stories during the previous week.
  • Daily story-telling to children age 5 and under was not predicted by any of the following parental characteristics:  age, race/ethnicity, gender, country of birth, 1st language, income, education, employment, relationship status, military service, or health (data not shown).
  • Children living in Seattle were more likely than those living in the East Region to be told stories daily.