First read of a new Reading is Fundamental survey alarmed me, in that only 33 percent of parents reported reading daily to their children ages 8 and younger and 50 percent reported that their children spent more time with visual media than books.

But a closer look showed silver linings, at least, in that 87 percent of parents are currently reading to their children -- and that on average they read to their children five times a week.

I'm not sure which statistic astonishes me more, that 13 percent of parents are currently not reading at all to their kids, or that 33 percent claim they do it daily. Daily, really? I salute you. I know I certainly have missed nights when the weather was finally nice or a youth soccer game ran late or the siren of a late-night family run for ice cream proved too strong.

But enough about my inconsistent parenting! The Reading is Fundamental advocacy group released the results of the 1,000-parent survey Thursday in conjunction with Macy's, which is giving out coupons to customers who donate $3 to a child literacy campaign.

Other interesting findings from the survey, conducted by Harris Interactive:

-- Nightly readership to children eight and younger was more common among younger parents: (39 percent among parents 18 to 34), (30 percent among parents 35 to 44), and (28 percent among parents 45 and older).

-- 51 percent of parents reading to their kids estimate the amount of time for each session at 10 to 19 minutes. The amount of time spent reading increased by the age of the child. (I suppose there are only so many times you can read Barnyard Dance over and over to your toddler.)

-- 55 percent of parents reported impediments to reading with their children, with the most common reasons being not enough time in the day (35%), child not interested (14%), not enough money to buy books (7%), limited access to library (4%), parent not interested (2%), and other reasons (5%).


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Books before baseball at Northwoods League game in Willmar