The Great Reading Divide – 4 Scary Stats to Know

We’re all aware of the large gap between rich and poor in the US and beyond. Sadly, the statistics show this gap has only gotten wider over the last several decades. Which made us wonder (as most things do): what does this mean for literacy?

Consider these troubling stats:

  • 61% of low-income families have no (that’s zero!) age-appropriate books in their homes.
  • There is just 1 age-appropriate book for every 300 children in low-income neighborhoods.
  • Only 36% of young children in low-income families are read to on a daily basis.
  • The average child growing up in a low-income family has been exposed to 25 hours of one-on-one reading at home, compared to 1,000–1,700 hours for middle income families.

And with 45 percent of children in the United States living in low-income households, these are some pretty grim findings. It’s because of statistics like these that we at Book Bears made the decision before launching our business that we wanted to give back in some way. So for every new subscriber to our service, we’re donating one picture book to benefit children in need. It’s a small thing, but as believers in the transformative power of reading we know that even one book can make an impact if it reaches the right child.

We are humbled by the work that some important charities are doing to help close the reading gap. First Book is one great example. They have distributed more than 135 million free and low-cost books through schools to thousands of children. Reach Out and Read distributes 6.5 million books per year through pediatric care facilities. Check out this article in Huffpost Parents, which rounds up 10 great organizations. Consider a donation to help fund this great work.



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