According to their research less than half of dads (42%) say they regularly read bedtime stories to their children, while mums are twice as likely (76%) to do so, despite bedtime reading being one of the best ways of establishing the reading habit in children. The main barrier (58%) cited by dads was work pressures including stress and long hours, while a lack of confidence meant one in ten felt the role was better suited to mums.
The study of over 2,000 adults was conducted by the National Year of Reading and YouGov as part of a campaign to raise awareness of the pressures dads face and the impact this has on children’s reading habits.
39% of dads think a better work / life balance would help them read more to their children
33% of dads think employers should do more to help parents read to their kids
A recent report conducted by the National Literacy Trust also found that while three-quarters of children said their mum encouraged them to read, only half said the same of their dad. Sadly, nearly a quarter of pupils stated that no-one in their family encouraged them to read.
Honor Wilson-Fletcher, Director of the National Year of Reading, said:
“Reading has never been more important, but we know boys lag far behind girls when it comes to reading. Boys need to see their dads enjoying reading if they are to become readers themselves as they grow up. Football programmes, blogs, newspapers and sports magazines are just as valuable reading as fairy tales. Reading is the best private investment you can make in your child’s education, it’s free and makes you feel like the best parent on earth. Just spending ten minutes a day reading something you enjoy with your children can make a real difference.”
Secretary of State for Schools, Children and Families Ed Balls said:
“Reading opens doors to everything in life, from applying to jobs to enjoying your favourite hobbies. Getting your children - both boys and girls – to be passionate about reading is something all parents can do. Reading to your children for ten minutes at bedtime is the best way of improving our kids’ chances when they get to school.”
The National Year of Reading is calling on all large employers to make their workplaces more reader-friendly. There are a host of simple, practical challenges for businesses including:
- Turn old smoking rooms into a staff reading area
- Adopt-a-book for all staff to share
- Create a book swap shelf for children’s books at work
- Encourage staff to join a library
- Encourage night shift workers to pre-record bedtime stories for their children
For more information about the Year of Reading, and to find out more about how your business can support reading both at work and at home, visit: http://www.yearofreading.org.uk