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Early literacy activities

Question:
Do you have any information on the early literacy activities of young children?

Response:
Parents and other family members can engage in home literacy activities with their children in different ways, such as by reading; telling stories; teaching letters, words, or numbers; or visiting a library. This Fast Fact presents parent-reported information on the extent to which 3- to 5-year-olds who are not yet enrolled in kindergarten engage with a family member in literacy activities at home.

Based on parent reports in 2012, many young children engaged in home literacy activities with members of their family. In the week before the survey was conducted, some 83 percent of children ages 3 to 5 who were not yet enrolled in kindergarten were read to by a family member three or more times. Also, 98 percent were taught letters, words, or numbers; 86 percent did arts and crafts; and 83 percent were told a story by a family member at least once in the past week. In 2012, some 42 percent of children ages 3 to 5 visited a library with a family member at least once in the month before the survey.

Family engagement in home literacy experiences was higher in 2012 than in 2001 for three types of activities: being taught letters, words, or numbers at least once in the past week (98 percent vs. 94 percent), doing arts and crafts at least once in the past week (86 percent vs. 79 percent), and visiting a library at least once in the past month (42 percent vs. 36 percent). On the other hand, the percentages of children who were read to three or more times in the past week or who were told a story at least once in the past week were not measurably different between 2001 and 2012.


Percentage of 3- to 5-year-olds not yet enrolled in kindergarten who participated in home literacy activities with a family member, by type and frequency of activity: 2001 and 2012

The data in this figure is described in the surrounding text.

NOTE: All information is based on parent reports. National Household Education Surveys Program(NHES):2012 was a self-administered paper-and-pencil questionnaire that was mailed to respondents, whereas NHES administrations prior to 2012 were administered by telephone with an interviewer. Measurable differences in estimates between 2012 and prior years could reflect actual changes in the population, or the changes could be due to the mode change from telephone to mail.


Few measurable differences were observed regarding families' involvement in home literacy activities in 2012 by child's age or sex. Higher percentages of 4-year-olds (43 percent) and 5-year-olds (49 percent) than of 3-year-olds (38 percent) visited a library with a family member in the past month. A higher percentage of females (88 percent) than males (84 percent) did arts and crafts with a family member in the past week.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics (2016).The Condition of Education 2016 (NCES 2016-144), Home Literacy Activities with Young Children.

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