Read the report — then read to your kids

South Bend Tribune

The good news is that according to a recent report, Indiana parents are doing a fine job of instilling a love of books in their children.

The bad news? Some are casting doubt on the report’s accuracy.

It may be a sign that you have a serious problem when claims that you’re making headway are greeted with doubt.

That appears to be the case with the Kids Count report ( released last month showing an impressive 85 percent of Indiana children younger than 6 have relatives reading to them three or more times per week.

The figure ties Indiana with Connecticut, Iowa, Michigan, North Dakota and Utah for the nation’s 23rd-highest percentage.

All of this is encouraging, given solid research that shows reading to young children is connected with later achievement in reading comprehension and overall success in school.

An article in the Bloomington Herald-Times, however, reports that some educators were viewing the 85 percent figure with a healthy dose of skepticism. The director of a social service agency that provides child care to low-income families said she doesn’t believe the report, though “it would be wonderful if it were true.”

No matter what the actual figure is, it would indeed be wonderful if more Hoosier parents read to their children. The recommended three-times-a-week commitment is no small thing for families with hectic schedules, for sure. And far too many Indiana families are focused on just surviving. But reading to children is one way to give them a proven educational boost. One that doesn’t cost a fortune and doesn’t require a special degree.

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