Do Dads read enough to their kids?

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Father reads his 6-year-old son a bedtime story.

Only one in eight dads read to their children, according to research commissioned by reading charity Booktrust.

The survey of over 1,000 parents revealed that just 13% of fathers are the main reader to their children. A quarter of dads blamed late working hours as the main reason for not reading to their kids – but research from the Institute of Education also indicates that many fathers see reading as a typically ‘female’ responsibility.

The Booktrust survey showed that 43% of mums read to their children everyday, compared to just 26% of fathers.

Viv Bird, chief executive of the charity Booktrust said: “The most crucial thing for dads to understand is that if kids see their dads reading, they’re more likely to enjoy it themselves. There is evidence that boys are slipping further behind girls in reading – and this emphasises how important it is that dads are positive role models to their sons as well as their daughters when it comes to reading.”

The charity’s campaign to get dads reading is supported by the best-selling thriller writer James Patterson, who argues that getting fathers to read to their kids is incredibly important. He said: “I believe that dads have a huge role to play in encouraging their children to read. We need to give fathers the support they need in reading to their children. If I can help dads to understand their role in making books and reading more important in children’s lives, I’ll be a happy man.”

What can parents do?

If both you and your other half work, have a look at our tips on how to share the childcare role with your partner.

But even once you’ve found the time to read to your kids, many parents say they don’t know which books to get for their children. So if you need some ideas, have a browse of our 10 best children’s books. It’s also worth having a look at James Patterson’s own website ReadKiddoRead for further inspiration on books that kids will love.

Not only can reading to kids be a lot of fun – it really helps develop their reading, writing and overall development too. Have a look at how you can help your child’s reading and spelling with ‘paired reading’.

Finally, remember that books don’t have to be expensive. Here are some tips on how to get cheap books for children.