Yuma, Arizona (NAPSI) - If your child is like the average American school kid, he or she spends 17.4 hours a week watching TV or playing video games, 16.7 hours a week playing outside and only 5.9 hours a week reading.

Despite research that shows the importance of summer reading in helping children keep skills sharp, only 17 percent of parents say reading is a top summer priority, according to a new survey from Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) and Macy’s.

The survey, conducted by Harris Poll, also found:

• More than 60 percent of parents in the survey said they do not believe their child loses reading skills over the summer, although existing research shows summer learning loss is a major problem, particularly for low-income children, who can lose up to three months in reading skills each summer. Children who don’t read proficiently by the end of third grade are four times more likely than others to drop out of high school.

• Parents who consider reading to be “extremely” or “very” important are twice as likely to have a child who reads every day.

• Children who are involved in a reading program are up to two times more likely to read every day.

• Despite the proliferation of e-books and digital formats, 83 percent of parents said their children prefer print books for summer reading, compared to 7 percent preferring tablets and 4 percent preferring e-readers.

Many literacy studies show a direct correlation between income level and the number of books in the household, creating even more obstacles to developing children’s literacy.

“Many families think of reading as eating your vegetables—good for you but not necessarily a treat. Reading is the best vacation. It takes you places you never dreamed you would visit, and summer especially is a time when kids can immerse themselves in the topics they like best,” said Carol H. Rasco, CEO of RIF.

RIF works to inspire a love of reading by delivering free books and literacy resources to children and families that need them most.

For example, it launched the 11th annual Be Book Smart campaign to support children’s literacy. Everyone can support reading this summer by donating $3 at any Macy’s store to help get more books to kids in need. Shoppers who make a $3 donation get $10 off a $30 purchase, and Macy’s will donate the full amount to RIF.

Macy’s has already helped raise nearly $30 million for RIF to promote literacy at all levels, buying books for children, training educators, and providing resources to parents.

Learn More

For further facts on getting books to kids who need them most, visit www.RIF.org.