25 Literacy Statistics That Every Parent Should Know

Did you know that children who are read to at home are more likely to be successful in school?  In fact, a study by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development found that children who are not read to are almost four times more likely to have low reading scores than those who were read to three or more times a week. The benefits of reading to your child cannot be overstated!

In this blog post, we will explore 25 statistics about children’s literacy. We hope that this information will help you understand the importance of reading aloud to your little one!

Statistics matter. They paint a picture. Let’s discuss the facts:


1.” In 2019, the percentage of fourth-grade public school students performing at or above the NAEP Proficient level in reading was 34 percent nationally. Across the states/jurisdictions, the percentage of public school fourth-graders performing at or above NAEP Proficient in reading ranged from 24 percent to 49 percent.”

Source: https://www.nationsreportcard.gov/reading/states/achievement/? grade=42

2. “Thirty-five percent of fourth-grade students performed at or above the NAEP Proficient level on the reading assessment in 2019. This percentage was 1 percentage point lower compared to 2017 but was 7 percentage points higher in comparison to 1992, the first reading assessment year.”

Source: https://www.nationsreportcard.gov/reading/nation/achievement?grade=4

3. “Scores lower compared to 2017 for lower-, middle-, and higher-performing students at both grades except for the highest performers in grade 4. Over the long term, higher-performing students made gains while the lower-performing students made no significant progress.”

Source:  https://www.nationsreportcard.gov/highlights/reading/2019/

4.”In 2019, thirty-six percent of fourth-grade students in the nation reported that they definitely can explain the meaning of something they have read. Thirty-six percent of eighth-grade students in the nation also reported that they definitely can explain the meaning of something they have read.”

Source:  https://www.nationsreportcard.gov/highlights/reading/2019/

5.”Lower scores at all selected percentiles except the 90th compared to 2017.”

Source:  https://www.nationsreportcard.gov/highlights/reading/2019/

6. “To keep kids reading, educators must also allow students to choose books that are interesting and engaging to them.”

Source: https://www.renaissance.com/wkar-report/

7.”An analysis of more than 9.9 million students found that only those students who read 15 minutes or more per day made accelerated reading gains. 

Source: https://www.weareteachers.com/staggering-statistics-about-struggling-readers-and-reading-growth/

8.”A study of 2.8 million students found that students who read 30+ minutes per day with high comprehension (85% or higher) were nearly twice as likely to achieve the college and career readiness benchmarks for their grade as typical students.”

Source: https://www.renaissance.com/2018/02/08/blog-predict-reading-growth-power-literal-comprehension/?utm_source=school-leaders-now&utm_medium=featured-article&utm_campaign=guide-to-reading-growth

9.”The first study found that a student’s attitude toward reading at the beginning of third grade was not significantly related to their reading achievement in second and third grades. Achievement in third grade was the best predictor of achievement in seventh grade—not surprising given the cumulative nature of learning.”

Source: https://www.renaissance.com/2018/02/13/blog-motivating-readers-goals-choice-reading-growth/?utm_source=school-leaders-now&utm_medium=featured-article&utm_campaign=guide-to-reading-growth

10.”Children who are read to at least three times a week by a family member are almost twice as likely to score in the top 25% in reading compared to children who are read to less than 3 times a week.”

Source: https://literacyproj.org/2019/02/14/30-key-child-literacy-stats-parents-need-to-be-aware-of/#:~:text=Children%20who%20are%20read%20to,than%203%20times%20a%20week.

Young black girl reading

11.The number of books in the home correlates significantly with higher reading scores for children.

Source: https://literacyproj.org/2019/02/14/30-key-child-literacy-stats-parents-need-to-be-aware of/#:~:text=Children%20who%20are%20read%20to,than%203%20times%20a%20week.

12.”One in six children who are not reading proficiently in the third grade does not graduate from high school on time, a rate four times greater than that for proficient readers.”

Source: https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED518818

13.”The most important aspect of parent talk is its amount. Mothers who frequently speak to their infants have their children learn almost 300 more words by age 2 than did children whose mothers rarely spoke to them.” 

Source: https://experts.umn.edu/en/publications/early-vocabulary-growth-relation-to-language-input-and-gender

See my latest post how to promote literacy in preschoolers: https://modernmamamelissa.com/10-easy-ways-to-promote-speech-and-language-development-in-preschoolers/

14.”Individuals with low levels of literacy are more likely to experience poorer employment opportunities and outcomes and llower-income As a result, they often face welfare dependency, low self-esteem, and higher levels of crime.”


Two boys reading
Two young boys reading:)

Kindergarten Facts

15.”37% of children arrive at kindergarten without the skills necessary for lifetime learning.”

Source: https://link.springer.com/book/10.1057/9780230610415

16.”Developing literacy and language skills before formal schooling sets a child up for success in school and life.”

Source: https://worldliteracyfoundation.org/early-intervention-reduces-illiteracy/?gclid=CjwKCAjwkMeUBhBuEiwA4hpqENoU7myErfTYhsmTux3nnl4yqdtqAdxnxYfzTKhkidomAyoj2TSqihoCUV8QAvD_BwE

17.”According to a Harvard study (2007), brain development occurs rapidly in the first few years of life, before formal schooling even begins, where over one million new neural connections are made every second. During these years, sensory pathways for early language skills and higher cognitive functions already begin to develop.”

Source: https://worldliteracyfoundation.org/early-intervention-reduces-illiteracy/?gclid=CjwKCAjwkMeUBhBuEiwA4hpqENoU7myErfTYhsmTux3nnl4yqdtqAdxnxYfzTKhkidomAyoj2TSqihoCUV8QAvD_BwE

18.”During the 2020–2021 school year, 119,886 kindergarteners read about 24 print books and 9,510 words each. Overall, 50% of these books were read to kids, 21% were read with kids, and 29% were read independently. Over 360,000kindergartners spent time reading digitally.”

Source: https://www.renaissance.com/wkar-report/

If you are sending your child off to kindergarten, this article is perfect for you:

Suggested book titles:

Check out this post for tips on how to promote language skills at home:

or this post to teach sight words at home:

First Grade Facts

19.” During the 2020–2021 school year, 474,446 first graders read about 40 print books and 29,578 words each. Overall,26% of these books were read to kids, 16% were read with kids, and 58% were read independently. Nearly 400,000 first graders spent time reading digitally.”

 Source:  https://www.renaissance.com/wkar-report/

Suggested book titles:


Second Grade Facts:

20.” During the 2020–2021, school year, 668,377-second graders read about 47 print books and 67,419 words each. Overall, 18 of these books were read to kids, 9% were read with kids, and 73% were read independently. Nearly400,000 second graders spent time reading digitally.”

 Source:  https://www.renaissance.com/wkar-report/

Third Grade Facts

21.” During the 2020–2021 school year, 743,718 third graders read about 39 print books and 140,557 words each. Over 400,000 third graders spent time reading digitally.”

Source: https://www.renaissance.com/wkar-report/

22.”In a longitudinal study of nearly 4,000 students, researchers found that nearly 1 in 4 students (23 percent) with “below-basic” reading skills in third grade had not graduated high school by age 19. Among “proficient” third-grade readers, only 1 in 25 (4 percent) did not graduate.”

Source: https://www.weareteachers.com/staggering-statistics-about-struggling-readers-and-reading-growth/

Suggested book titles

Fourth Grade Facts:

23. “During the 2020–2021 school year, 734,692 fourth graders read about 29 print books and 216,806 words each. Over 500,000 fourth graders spent time reading digitally.”

Source: https://www.renaissance.com/wkar/

24.”The percentage of 4th-grade students who performed at or above NAEP Proficient in 2019 was lower than the percentage in 2017 (37 percent), but it was higher than the percentage in 1992.(29 percent)”

Source: https://nces.ed.gov/programs/coe/pdf/coe_cnb.pdf

Suggested book titles:

Fifth Grade Facts:

25.”During the 2020–2021 school year, 691,487 fifth graders read about 21 print books and 276,426 words each. Over 425,000 fifth graders spent time reading digitally.” 


It is evident that children’s literacy skills vary depending on grade level. However, there are many resources and suggestions for parents and educators to help improve reading comprehension and fluency. Whether your child is a struggling reader or an advanced one, it is important to find the right book for them and make time for daily reading.

A few suggestions for parents:

– consider your child’s interests when choosing a book

– try different genres to keep them engaged

– use online resources like Audible or Epic to mix things up

– ask their teacher for specific recommendations  

-Talk to your child’s teacher or a local librarian for more ideas.

-If your child is struggling to get off of their electronic device and into a book, you may want to check out this post: https://modernmamamelissa.com/5-tips-to-get-your-child-to-put-down-their-electronics-and-get-into-a-book/

What have you found helpful in improving your child’s reading skills? Share in the comments below,

With a little effort, you can make reading time fun and enjoyable for the whole family. Happy Reading!

Suggested Reading Comprehension Strategies

Great resources:

Great for Pre-K- Grade 2
Great for kids in grades 3-5.

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