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.