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Association Between Television Viewing and Parent-Child Reading in the Early Home Environment

Khan, Kiren S. PhD*; Purtell, Kelly M. PhD*,†; Logan, Jessica PhD*; Ansari, Arya PhD; Justice, Laura M. PhD*,§

Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics: September 2017 - Volume 38 - Issue 7 - p 521–527
doi: 10.1097/DBP.0000000000000465
Original Articles
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Objective: This study examines whether there is an association between time spent by preschoolers in parent-child shared book reading versus TV viewing in two distinct samples.

Methods: Data were used from both the preschool wave of the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study Cohort, a nationally representative sample of 4-year-olds (N = 8900), as well as a low-income, rural sample of children enrolled in the Preschool Experience in Rural Classrooms study (N = 407). Information regarding frequency of shared book reading and daily TV consumption was obtained through caregiver report. A regression approach was used to estimate how the frequency of parent-child book reading accounted for variance in TV consumption. Estimated marginal mean values were then compared for the amount of TV viewed by children who were reported as being read to daily, frequently, occasionally, and not at all.

Results: Parent–child book reading was negatively associated with the amount of TV viewed by children in both samples. Specifically, television consumption was significantly lower for children who were read to daily as compared to those who were read to occasionally. This inverse association was not moderated by contextual factors including maternal education, household size, and composition, or time spent in nonparental care.

Conclusion: This study provides empirical support for an inverse association between TV viewing and parent-child book reading activities. Implications for policy and practice are discussed.

*Crane Center for Early Childhood Research and Policy, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH;

Department of Human Sciences, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH;

Center for Advanced Study of Teaching and Learning, University of Virginia;

§Department of Teaching and Learning, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH.

Address for reprints: Kiren S. Khan, PhD, Crane Center for Early Childhood Research and Policy, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210; e-mail:

Supported by Grant R305A080459 from the Institute of Education Sciences.

Disclosure: The authors declare no conflict of interest.

The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent views of the Institute or the U.S. Department of Education.

See the video abstract at

Received September 13, 2016

Accepted May 02, 2017

Copyright © 2017 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.