Not enough bedtime stories for children


A recent poll of 2,000 mothers with children aged 0-seven found that only 64% of respondents said they read their children bedtime stories. Reasons for not reading to their kids included being too stressed or too tired, while nearly half said they couldn't lure their kids away from computer games and TV.

The survey by Littlewoods also found that in previous generations, parents who read bedtime stories did so more regularly than their modern counterparts. Only 13% of respondents read a story to their children every night, but 75% recall being read to every night when they were kids. On average, today's parents read bedtime stories to their children three times a week.

The findings are all the more surprising since 87% of those polled believe that bedtime reading is vital to children's education and development.

The poll discovered that 9% feel "too stressed" to read bedtime stories; 13% admit that they haven't enough time.

One of the major challenges appears to lie in getting children to pay attention to books. Nearly half of those surveyed said their children found television, computer games and other toys more diverting, while 4% said their children do not own any books at all.

Meanwhile, in a separate survey Oxford University Press, some 44% of 1,000 parents of 6- to 11-year-olds polled said they rarely or never read with their child after their seventh birthday.
The report draws on research from the National Literacy Trust which suggested that young people who read outside class were 13 times more likely to read above the expected level for their age.

It also follows a study from London's Institute of Education which suggested that children who read for pleasure are likely to be better at both maths and English than those who rarely read in their free time.

Clare Bolton of the National Literacy Trust said: "We know from our work with parents and children in communities across the UK, that fostering a love of reading at home is crucial to children's future happiness and success.

"Parents are really important reading role models and our research shows that children's attitudes to reading improve the more they see their parents read so we'd encourage all parents to make time for enjoying a good book themselves."

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