Reading dads becoming more invisible

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.


What do you need to know about me? 1. I'm from Wales which is one of the countries in the UK and must never be confused with England. 2. My life has always revolved around the written and spoken word. I worked as a journalist for nine years then in international corporate communications 3. My tastes in books are eclectic. I love realism and hate science fiction and science fantasy. 4. I am trying to broaden my reading horizons geographically by reading more books in translation

2 thoughts on “Reading dads becoming more invisible

  • April 26, 2013 at 8:40 am

    I just think there are too many distractions these days for children. I grew up with minimal TV (not our choice, there just wasn’t anything entertaining those days), no videos, or TV, and no access to anything but a library.

    It’s not surprising that I was drawn to reading. Kids these days have a lot more to entertain them.

  • January 3, 2013 at 6:43 pm

    It’s definitely scary! As you know, I recently wrote about similar statistics in Denmark. I know parents who read for their children every night – but who don’t understand that to turn your children into reader, that’s only the beginning. It’s just as important – and necessary – that they see their parents read and enjoy books if you want them to become readers. And they have to become readers to succeed in life, no matter what they want to do …


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