Family Literacy: Some Encouraging News

When it comes to family literacy, it appears there are some encouraging trends.  Education Week is reporting on the Census Bureau’s latest findings that more families are reading to their students than just a decade ago.  The latest Census results also show that more students are taking advanced courses in high school.  Even more encouraging, a higher percentage of students living in poverty are taking part in academic enrichment activities than were in 1998.

Here are the punch points:

In 2009, more than half of children ages 1 to 5 were read to by their families at least seven times a week. There is still a reading gap between families in poverty and those better off—poor families read to their preschool children about six times a week on average, compared to nearly eight times a week on average for families at or above 200 percent of the poverty line. Family reading has been flat for middle and upper-income kids since 1998, but the number of poor families reading with their children shot up 37 percent during that time.

More children took advanced courses in school. From 1998 to 2009, the percentage of children ages 12 to 17 in gifted classes increased from 21 percent to 27 percent.

After school and on weekends, young children—those ages 6 to 11—are more likely than older children to participate in academic enrichment, such as music, language or computers. This hasn’t changed since 1998, but more elementary-age children in poverty participated in academic enrichment in 2009—21 percent, compared to 18 percent in 1998.

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