Oxford University Press surveyed 1,000 children aged seven to 11
Half of young readers said they’d enjoy reading more if parents helped
Many parents abandon reading with their children from the age of eight
Half of eight and nine year olds were ‘rarely or never read to at home’
By Daily Mail: ANDREW LEVY
Parents are damaging their children’s literacy by abandoning reading with them too soon – typically by the age of seven – according to research.
Around two-thirds of six year olds enjoy bedtime stories or other recreational reading with an adult.
But that plummets to 44 per cent among children who are just a year older as mothers and fathers assume their help is no longer needed.
Yet experts said continuing to read together for pleasure throughout primary school was ‘vital’ for their development.
And nearly half of young ‘reluctant readers’ said they would enjoy reading more if their parents sat with them.
The findings, in a survey by Oxford University Press, follow studies which show children who read for pleasure are more likely to do well at school and thrive in the work place.
James Clements, a former headteacher at an outstanding primary school who worked with OUP on the study, said: ‘All the research proves that reading for pleasure is inextricably linked to attainment and benefits all aspects of children’s lives.
‘Parents need to understand the huge impact reading with their children can make and how vital it is that reading for pleasure doesn’t stop at the school gate but is continued at home.
‘Just ten minutes of reading with their child every day is one of the best ways they can support their education.
‘Reading together six days a week means an extra hour of support for a child. It’s definitely cheaper than an hour with a tutor and it could make a much bigger difference.’
The survey of 1,000 children aged seven to 11 also found half of eight and nine year olds were rarely or never read to at home. Just a third of ten year olds spent time reading books with an adult.
Clements said tips to keep children interested in reading throughout primary school include exposing them to a variety of books, taking it in turns to read, ensuring the child understand new words and discussing the plot.
Additional research from The National Literacy Trust found pupils are 13 times more likely to read above the expected level for their age if they enjoy books for pleasure.
A spokeswoman for the trust said: ‘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.’