Almost Heaven – Families

My husband and I are both librarians, were read to by our parents, and read to our children.  Robert read James Thurber and other funny stuff to our children before they were born (I enjoyed it, too) and they are both bright, literate, and have a certain dry wit.  I’ve been looking again at the National Survey of Children’s Health.  Of all the parents in the country, West Virginians are the most likely to read to their preschool children, and 9th in reading to them every day.  57% of West Virginia pre-schoolers are read to every day and almost 90% are read to most days.  Even in the poorest households, more than half the parents read to their children every day.  We’re good at singing and storytelling, too – 9th in the country, and two-thirds of all parents sing or tell stories to their children every day. And 40%of school-age kids spend less than an hour a day watching television and playing video games. Our pre-schoolers see more television and videos than most, but not in the poorer households.  Preschoolers in our richest households watch more television than anywhere else in the country.

Sadly, most families no longer eat dinner together regularly, but West Virginians do better than most; almost half of all families have a meal together every day, but only about a third of our richest families.

2 thoughts on “Almost Heaven – Families

  1. This is most interesting, and yet not surprising. People here tell stories as conversation, using gestures, facial expressions, voice techniques, anticipation and all other tricks of the storytellers trade–and they don’t usually know they’re doing it. I am delighted to see the statistic on reading aloud to children. That is very heartening. As a librarian I know first-hand how valuable these two things are to developing children with inquisitive minds and imagination.

  2. I was gone from here for 30 years. When I wasn’t getting a hard time for being from West Virginia, I was sometimes admired for the stories I told – not in any formal way, just in conversation. On the other hand, there were those who saw them as interminable and irrelevant ;-) Either way, I hadn’t thought of it as being part of my Appalachian heritage.

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