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Quick Reads: The Importance of Reading with Your Children

At what age do you stop actively reading with your children?

It’s a poignant question and one which, if you’re like me and couldn’t imagine never reading to your children, is slightly confusing. But in today’s age of short attention spans and ever encroaching technology into our lives, there has been research carried out which suggests parents are stopping reading with their children at too young an age.

While technology such as e-readers and tablet PCs are having a great effect on encouraging us grown-ups to spend more time with our noses buried in the digital book (48% of people who use gadgets to read, say it’s encouraged them to read more), one in five of us also admit that we only read to our children about once a week.

To me that’s a staggeringly low figure and it begs the question, if we enjoy reading so much (we spend 6 hours a week on average doing just that), then how come we’re not spending a larger portion of that on turning some pages with our children? In a new study from Quick Reads – a charity producing short, popular books for busy people, they found that:

70% of parents stop reading with their kids before they are twelve, contrary to expert advice which suggests we should continue reading with our children until they are in their mid teens.

When asked why they had stopped reading with their children, one in ten (9%) parents admitted that their children wanted to do other things and they didn’t want to argue with them, whilst 4% said it was because their child could read better than them. 85% said their child is reading well enough on their own and a third (31%) simply said their kids wanted to do other things.

Why is reading with our children so important?

To encourage us to read more with our kids and more importantly share with them our own enthusiasm for books and literature of all kinds, we could really do with knowing just what the benefits are. Sue Southwood, NIACE Programme Manager said,

“Children’s success in learning is influenced more by their parents than by income level or schooling. Whilst it is great to see that parents are spending so much time reading on their own, we want them to be loud and proud about their love of reading; to share and talk about books as a natural part of family life. Support from home is vital because ultimately increased confidence in reading can have a positive impact on every other area of their school life – and beyond.”  

With this in mind, Galaxy Quick Reads have launched their titles for 2014, featuring some very well known authors including Barbara Taylor Bradford, Jeffrey Archer and Lynda La Plante.  The aim of them is to get adults reading and to be seen reading by their children. The books are designed to be quick, fast-paced and satisfying yet with the same impact that longer novels have and after having received this years titles to review for the purpose of this post, I have to say that they are indeed everything they claim to be.

I’ve really enjoyed sitting down with a cup of tea and delving into one of these Quick Reads for a moment. Whether it’s to take a break from the laptop and work or to indulge in when the children are playing, it’s given me the chance to stop, recharge and escape. At the same time it’s encouraged my three children to pick up their books and more often than not, I’ll be just sitting down with my own, when I’m bombarded with three toddlers, all wanting me to read their books at the same time. Naturally, I’m happy to do this as I’m a book-aholic and I hope that it will help those parents who perhaps aren’t so confident in their ability to read aloud or with other people, to just give it a go.

Even the celebs make time for reading!

In the following video, a group of well known celebrities including Myleene Klass, discuss what reading means to them and share their own thoughts on their relationship with literature.

I’m a huge advocate of reading and reading to my children. I learned to read at a very young age and books have kept me company at times where I’ve been at my most hopeless and distressed and have taught me that my imagination can be a great refuge when I need it to be. Sadly my mother never really read to me as a child – it’s something I feel I’ve missed out on which probably compensates for how much I do read with my own children and I hope that if you take anything away form this article, it’s the desire to pick a book – any book – and sit with your little one and just read, regardless of whether it feels odd or you’re embarrassed, please, just give it a go.

What are your favourite Quick Reads – books that you can pick up in the blink of an eye and jump straight in to when you need it? And what books do you like reading together with your children? One of our favourites is The King of Quizzical Island and its follow on book. Do let me know in the comments!

Filed under: Books & TV, Motherhood, Reviews

About the Author

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Hello you! I'm Stacey, a self-confessed nerd, Tolkien fanatic, devourer of Pimms and a technological magpie. I mainly blog about parenting three Hobbits, however I'm slowly breaking free of the Shire in search of my freelancing fortune.

12 Comments

  1. I LOVE reading and we always read a lot when my daughter was tiny, then I went back to uni and I didn’t do it very much I was always so exhausted at bedtime. but then when she was probably about 8 or 9 we started again, this time me reading my book and her reading hers on the sofa under a big blanket in the evenings and what a difference it made to BOTH of our reading time! The Quick Reads sound like a great idea–perfect for a tea break :)

  2. This year I’ve vowed to spend more time reading with my two, it’s so important. I don’t know how much of a quick read this is but my all-time favourite is Memoirs of a Geisha – I can dip into that at any time!

  3. I still read to my ten year old every night, although he demands non-fiction these days- science books, but it is a lovely part of our day. Of course the little one always demands several ‘just one mores….’ And I think my eldest was about 13 when she made me stop!!

  4. I have read every day to my twins (apart form late nights of course) and it’s a moment we all treasure together. I intend reading with them for a lot longer but I am surprised to see thoughts are to continue into the teens, I can remember reading on my own way before that I think I like Michelle’s idea above of reading separate books but snuggled up

  5. Pingback: Goodreads #20 - darktea

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