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Research shows that almost 1 in 5 parents do not see the benefit of reading to a child before they are at an age when they can sit up or talk and 1 in 4 parents struggle with reading and so do not read to their children at all.

A study commissioned by a leading online provider of educational and fiction books has revealed that 1 in 5 parents with children under 5 years of age do not think there is any benefit of reading to children before they can walk or talk. In addition, almost 1 in 4 parents either do not enjoy reading, or struggle with reading and so put no time aside for reading with their child.

www.alltopbooks.com surveyed over 640 UK parents, with children under 5 years of age, revealing the amount of time they spend reading with their children per week. The following results were found;

34.4% spent no time reading to their children at all
50.5% of parents spent 0.5 hours -1 hour reading to their children each week
11.2% spent 2-3 hours reading to their children each week
3.9% spent 3.5 hours or more reading to their children each week

Therefore, over 50% of parents only spend a maximum of 8.5 minutes reading to their children each day and, more surprisingly, over 34% of parents spend no time reading to their children at all. Only 3.9% of parents spend the recommended maximum2 3.5 hours reading to their children each week, an average of 30 minutes every day.

Dilip Sinha, All Top Books Managing Director, comments;

“I am a passionate believer that reading to a young child, no matter how young they are, will help them grow, develop and bond with their parents. To discover that such a high percentage of parents don’t read to their children at all is really disappointing; reading to a child is like opening a door to a big and exciting world, allowing them to hear sounds and see pictures that they may not get to see otherwise.”

Sinha continues;

“I have known children as young as 4 months old to show an interest in books, and children who cannot yet talk to make a ‘moo’ noise when they see a picture of a cow; for so many parents to think it is pointless to read to a child before they can talk is very concerning.”

The results highlight the factors preventing parents from spending more time reading to their children. Almost half (49.7%) are too busy with work and family commitments to read to their children any more than they already do, but all of the 49.7% of respondents wished they could spend more time reading to their children, with one participant commenting, “I finish work, pick up the kids, clean the house, cook the dinner, bath them and then they’re asleep; If I attempted to read to them after all that, I’d be asleep as well!”.

Despite proven statistics1, showing that parental involvement with reading from a very young age, could stimulate and develop a baby’s brain, 19.6% of parents do not see the point of reading to a small child, and 24.8% of parents do not like reading; 9.9% of which admitted to have difficulty reading, and so did not read to their children at all.

In total, a potential 44.4% of young children, not only miss out on the educational side of reading but also the interaction and excitement of their favourite voice reading them a fun and exciting story.

More significantly, 18.9% of these children were 3 to 4 years of age and consequently should be preparing to cope with the demands of their formal literacy education; their peers are likely to already have a favourite book, a preference for certain pictures and an understanding of numbers, letters and colours.

Only about 1 in 17 parents felt satisfied with the amount of time they spent reading with their children, all of which spent at least 2 hours per week, approximately 17 minutes reading with their children per day.

ENDS –

1http://www.literacytrust.org.uk/familyreading/parents/whyread.html
2http://kidshealth.org/parent/positive/all_reading/reading_babies.html

Editors Notes

For further information contact emma@10yetis.co.uk or 01452 527898.

All Top Books, trading name for Books and Beyond, is an online bookseller based in Lewisham, South East London.

Books and Beyond was established as a mail order bookseller in Northamptonshire in 1999, but their roots in bookselling go back to 1980.

Visit their website at www.alltopbooks.com

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