The Ellie Sparkles Show has analysed Google search data across 700+ popular books, children’s films and fictional characters to determine America’s favourites.
The children’s entertainment show also surveyed 1,000 parents of 5–8-year-olds across the US to discover how often we read with our children, how much we spend on reading materials and parental attitudes towards finding the perfect story.
Parents read to their children an average of six times per week
The Ellie Sparkles Show’s survey reveals that parents in the US read to their children an average of six times per week; however, 77% wish they could do this more often.
While one in three parents read to their child every day, 48% find it challenging to fit this into their daily schedule.
To factor this quality time in, 39% of parents have set reading times, whilst 55% put subtitles on when their child is watching TV to encourage reading as much as possible.
70% of parents look for books with racial diversity
Children are highly receptive to their surroundings, and reading stories which include different cultures, lifestyles, and perspectives is a great way to promote ideas of inclusion and acceptance from an early age.
We asked parents what they prioritise when choosing a story to read with their children, with 69% of respondents revealing they look for books that include racial diversity. 56% look at books with religious diversity, 48% look at gender diversity, and 42% look to have diverse sexual orientations.
Almost seven in 10 parents (67%) also give their child freedom to choose the books they read, allowing them to explore their interests and encouraging them to read more.
61% of parents in the US would also be happy to read books to their child with a higher age rating than their child’s actual age, while only 57% of parents would allow their children to watch a film with a higher age rating. Dads were more likely to let their kids watch movies more suited to an older audience at 72%, compared to 52% of mums.
7 in 10 parents noticed that reading with their children helps to stimulate their imagination and creativity
Reading can benefit you and your child by helping you sleep to increasing your vocabulary. In addition, 7 in 10 parents have noticed that reading has helped stimulate their child’s imagination and creativity, while 46% have seen their children’s attention span improve.
The Ellie Sparkles Show spoke to Camilla Mazetto, a post-doctoral psychologist at Williamsburg Therapy Group. The latter revealed some of the critical benefits storytelling could have on your child and the value of setting aside reading time each day.
The habit of storytelling has been shown to benefit children in various areas, touching on cognitive, emotional, and social aspects of development.
It has even been shown to positively impact physiological and psychological functions, increasing oxytocin and positive emotions and decreasing cortisol levels and pain in hospitalised children.
Most studies have focused on benefits regarding literacy, and there is strong evidence that storytelling can enrich language experiences, help children improve their vocabulary mastery, and enhance interest in reading and writing.
Storytelling is also very low-cost, simple, and practical. It relies on a complex interaction between language and imagination, creating a state of cognitive and emotional immersion that is profoundly engaging for both the storyteller and the audience.
The benefits of storytelling may change throughout a child’s different developmental stages. For younger kids, it promotes expressive and receptive language development allowing for greater emotional connection with grown-ups.
As children get older, storytelling may be used to practice logical and critical thinking and explore values and problem-solving skills. This is possible because stories facilitate the creation of mental simulations that represent social realities.
Such narratives offer a model of the social world through abstraction and simplification that allow for the vicarious learning of social realities through the experience of fictional characters.
In other words, stories can help reframe personal experiences by broadening perspectives, deepening emotional processing abilities, and increasing empathy and self-regulation.
Parents across the US invest an average of $319 on books and reading materials each year
From a monthly library card to buying the latest book from your child’s favourite author, parents spend an average of $26.61 on books and reading materials.
Washington, D.C., spends the most at $58.88, up to around $706.56. California follows in second, paying $43.88 each month, and Vermont is in third, spending $43.67.
The Ellie Sparkles Show also wanted to find out how much families spend on TV and Film subscriptions, with the likes of Netflix and Disney Plus becoming staple family household features. The average American parent spends $36.11 per month (or $433 a year) on these, with Nebraska topping the list as the state paying the most.
Dog Man by Dav Pilkey is America’s favourite children’s book
From a tale of four sisters to a half-man half-canine cop fighting crime, we’ve analysed monthly searches across 388 books to determine America’s favourite.
Dog Man by Dav Pilkey is America’s favourite children’s book. The 4.15/5 star-rated graphic novel series is Googled 49,500 times annually in the US.
After Dog Man, the second most popular book is Wonder by R.J. Palacio, which searches an average of 33,100 times each month. Finally, despite being released over 150 years ago, Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women is still the third most famous children’s book, with an average of 27,100 searches on Google each month.
Ratatouille, The Lego Movie and Cars are America’s most popular children’s films
There’s nothing better than getting together as a family to watch a movie. So, with a mixture of household favourites and new releases, we analysed monthly search volume across 241 movies to determine the nation’s choices.