New Harris Poll Reads Into Connections Between Family Reading Time And Achievements Later In Life

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The FINANCIAL — Bedtime stories and other family reading rituals have long been part of growing up,  recognized far and wide as contributing to linguistic and cognitive development. What’s more, a new Harris Poll finds that frequent family reading time correlates with numerous additional benefits, both in childhood and later in life.  

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,193 U.S. adults surveyed online between January 13 and 18, 2016.

Feelin’ the love

First off, more frequent reading times coincide with stronger parent-child bonds:

Adults who say their parents read to them every day when they were young are especially likely to report very strong relationships with their parents (“strongly agree” that they have/had strong relationships with their parents), and this reported bond decreases as the frequency of childhood story times goes down:

74% among those whose parents read to them every day,

64% among those who were read to at least weekly,

52% among those read to less than once a week, and

33% of those who don’t recall their parents reading to them.

A separate study of 1,098 U.S. children (aged 8-18) shows a similar relationship between reading time and familial bonding:

Eight in 10 (81%) of those whose parents/guardians read (or used to read) to them at least once a day report very strong relationships with their parents.

This drops to just over seven in 10 (72%) among those who are or were read to a few times a week.

Among those read to weekly or less, this drops to 66%.

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More frequent family reading can foster more than just familial love – it coincides with a stronger love of reading as well. Among adults whose parents read to them every day, over seven in 10 (72%) strongly agree that they love to read. This love of reading is considerably less pronounced among those whose parents read to them less often (57% among those read to once or several times per week, 52% among those read to less than once a week, and 47% among those who were never read to).

Similar trends carry through among children. Half of those read to every day (51%) strongly agree that they love to read, compared to four in 10 (39%) among those read to a few times per week or less.

Later life benefits

Reading times correlate to much more than just family bonding and a love of reading, though. In fact, reading to kids frequently could give them a leg up in many ways later in life:

Adults who were read to daily (31%) or at least weekly (29%) are significantly more likely to report six-figure incomes than those who were read to less than once a week or never (20% each).

Those read to daily (27%) are more likely than their counterparts to hold a college degree (vs. 17% among those read to 1+ times per week, 12% of those read to less than once a week and 13% among those never read to).

As for even higher levels of academic achievement, those read to at least weekly (13% of those read to daily, 15% of those read to 1+ times per week) are nearly twice as likely to hold graduate degrees as those read to less than once a week (8%) and those never read to (7%).

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