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Reading & Telling Stories to Children:  Notes & Sources

Definitions

Confidence Interval (also known as error bar) is the range of values that includes the true value 95% of the time. If the confidence intervals of two groups do not overlap, the difference between groups is considered statistically significant (meaning that chance or random variation is unlikely to explain the difference).   

King County regions: The geographic boundaries of the four King County sub-regions (North, Seattle, East, and South) are defined by the aggregation of ZIP codes.

Race/Ethnicity: Federal standards mandate that race and ethnicity (Hispanic origin) are distinct concepts requiring 2 separate questions when collecting data from an individual. "Hispanic origin" is meant to capture the heritage, nationality group, lineage, or country of birth of an individual (or his/her parents) before arriving in the United States. Persons of Hispanic ethnicity can be of any race. Communities Count's terms for racial/ethnic groups are derived from those used by the U.S Census Bureau in 2010.

  • Communities Count terms:  Hispanic, Non-Hispanic, White Non-Hispanic, Black, American Indian/Alaska Native (AIAN), Asian, Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander (NHPI), White, and Multiple Race (Multiple). Persons of Hispanic ethnicity can be of any race and are included in other racial categories. Racial/ethnic groups are sometimes combined when sample sizes are too small for valid statistical comparisons of more discrete groups. 
  • 2010 Census terms: Hispanic or Latino, Not Hispanic or Latino, White alone (Not Hispanic or Latino),  Black or African American, American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, White, Some Other Race, and Two or More Races.

Notes

Statistical Significance: Unless otherwise noted, any difference mentioned in the text is statistically significant (unlikely to have occurred by chance).

Trends:  We cannot compare 2011 data on reading and telling stories to children to earlier survey data because the form of the questions changed in the 2011 survey.

Data Sources

King County data on reading and telling stories to children birth-5 years are from the Communities Count Survey, 2011.  Respondents came from a random sample of all King County households.  In households with children age 5 or younger, respondents (usually a parent or guardian) were asked how often in the past week they or other family members read to each child 5 or younger, and how often in the past week each child was told stories (not at all, once or twice, 3 or more times, or every day).  Results were weighted to represent the population of King County children ages birth to 5 years. Numbers of children age birth to 5 by region were calculated from Census 2010 SF1 data, Table QT-P2.

Due to the limitations of surveys that rely exclusively on landline telephones, Communities Count used a mixed-mode survey involving both random-digit-dial phone contact and address-based sampling for mailed questionnaires, with an internet response option as well. Phone interviews were conducted in English, Spanish, and, upon request, additional languages.

Possible limitations of this kind of survey include: (a) people who do not have a telephone or a permanent address are missed; (b) people who do not speak English or Spanish may not participate; (c) people who have less education and lower incomes tend to be under-represented.

Other Sources

Background on the importance of reading and telling stories to children can be found at:

Marc H. Bornstein and Diane L. Putnick. Cognitive and Socioemotional Caregiving in Developing Countries. Child Development: January/February 2012, Vol. 83, Issue 1, pp. 46-61, http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1467-8624.2011.01673.x/full, accessed 9/26/2012.

Parenting and Child Health, Women’s and Children’s Health Network, http://www.cyh.com/HealthTopics/HealthTopicDetails.aspx?p=114&np=122&id=1552#3, accessed 9/26/2012.

Reach Out and Read:  A national evidence-based program in which pediatricians encourage parents to read aloud to their young children.  Programs reach 4 million children and their families every year, including more than 80,000 children in Washington State (http://www.reachoutandreadwa.org/). Reach Out and Read is available at 38 sites in King County (http://www.reachoutandreadwa.org/images/uploads/documents/2_List_-_RORWA_Program_List_2012-9.pdf).

Maps of King County covering a wide range of topics can be accessed at http://www.kingcounty.gov/operations/GIS/Maps.aspx#PH.  Maps most immediately relevant to Communities Count are under the headings of Community data & demographics, Public health, and Environment & natural resources, but other maps should be useful as well (farmers markets, transit routes, walking and biking routes, parks, traffic counts, etc.).

Quotes:  Communities Count interviewed 32 King County parents or guardians raising at least one child younger than 6 years of age.  We reached out to communities of color, recent immigrants, and residents with limited English proficiency to achieve a broad range of racial, cultural, and socioeconomic diversity. We interviewed both families with very low household income and those who earned up to median income (about $68,000 for a family of four in 2010). Family structures included single-parent households, couples living in consensual unions, married couples, and extended families.