The National Literacy Trust published some disturbing research recently that indicates some reasons for a decline in reading among children and young people in the UK.
Apparently one in seven children has never been taken to a bookshop, which means they never get the chance to explore stories and texts for themselves. As someone who looked forward to this kind of trip and the chance to spend my pocket money, I find this so sad.
But it’s hardly surprising when you see the statistics on how parents themselves are not acting as role models for younger readers. One third of dads are never seen with a book in their hand – a higher percentage than two years ago. While the Literacy Trust says mothers are twice as likely to be seen reading by their child than fathers, there are still 30% of mums who are never seen with books. That’s a worrying statistic given the pivotal role we know that parents play in children’s education and literacy and how critical reading is to future employment prospects. Yet there’s been no coverage of this research in any of the ‘serious’ national newspapers I’ve seen in recent weeks.
There are groups who are trying to make a difference and introduce children to the wonders of reading but no amount of government funding or well intentioned initiatives will solve this if the children don’t have good role models at home.