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Reading, book sharing less common in immigrant families, Stanford study finds

readingA new study from Stanford researchers turns a light toward differences in parent-to-child reading in immigrant and non-immigrant households in the U.S. The results could help explain the gap in language development between certain minority children entering preschool and their peers.

Researchers looked at how often parents read or shared picture books with their children under the age of 6. Published in Pediatrics, the study (subscription required) found that daily book sharing occurred in 57.5 percent of parents in immigrant families and 75.8 percent of native-born parents. Among the households surveyed, book sharing was lowest in Hispanic families and households with both parents foreign-born.

From a Reuters piece:

Parents with low education levels or a low household income were less likely to book share with their kids. But even when those factors were taken into account, immigrant parents were less likely to share books than native-born parents.

Senior author Fernando Mendoza, MD, told Reuters, “This paper just says there is a difference, and not because they’re poor, but because they are immigrants.” A study co-author also noted that "we have a long way to go in understanding what is behind" the findings.

Previously: Learning how we learn to readStanford study shows importance of parents talking directly to their toddler and Imaging study shows little difference between poor readers with low IQ and poor readers with high IQ
Photo by San José Library

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