Get Dads Reading Campaign launches as new research finds just 1 in 10 dads is the 'main reader' to his children. Your reaction and thoughts?(80 Posts)
Some of you may have spotted this news story on Friday, which announced a new Booktrust campaign to get more dads reading to their children. The Booktrust charity published a survey and found that only one in ten dads said they were their child's main reader; and that 43% of mums read to their child every day, compared with 26% of dads.
What are your family's after-school/bedtime reading patterns? Who is the main reader in your family, or do you share? And lastly what are your thoughts on the Booktrust campaign - MN mums and dads (<-- especially!), do you support the initiative?
I think 'main reader' is a bit silly and a way to get a statistic for a headline so that it sounds worse than it is. I don't know who the 'main reader' is in our house. As long as children are read to each day, and over the course of a week both parents read to the child, and the child sees both parents reading for pleasure, that is fine. A much more useful number would be 'children who are read to less than (say) 3 times a week.
My father read to me every single night, my dh reads to DS every single night, bath and a story (or 6) is their special time together each evening.
Feels very patronising to dads.
My kids have a dad who's great at bedtime reading. Is this a valid survey - how large is it?
Sorry. Rant over. I take the children to the library every week on my day off. I choose some books, DS chooses some. We read at least one story each to DS each night, and more during the day when we are at home. New dc is 7 months and is just starting to look at books rather than eat them.
Ok, just read the campaign buff but dont really get it, shouldnt it just get someone to read each day? Although dh reads with ds, I read everynight with dd as I bought her up alone, wouldnt it be better to try and encourage the joy of reading rather than making it about fathers?
My DH and I share the reading completely 50:50. One person does one night, then swap. Both DC get 3 shortish picture stories read to them (or one is school book for DC to 'read') in our bed. Youngest goes to bed and then eldest and snuggles with one if us in his bed for him to read a chapter book (or more generally we read a page, he reads a page) for 10 min.
I could see how more reading is done by mums if I think about my friends situations. But it's generally only because the DH works late not because They dont want to. I'm lucky that my DH is always around at bedtime.
I think book start is great but in a way I wonder if its fulfilling its aim and targeting the right people. I love receiving the bookstart packs, but also regularly go to the library as well. So I'm not really the target audience as I'm already a firm believer in the importance of books and reading. Does it increase reading in those homes where reading isn't a high priority? Should the money used be better targeted at those children in particular? Guess its a bit like the argument about child benefit.
My dh is the main reader. It is his time with the dc as he doesn't get home till bedtime. He has read to them every night. We both enjoy reading ourselves so we want our dc to enjoy it too.
It's obviously good to read to your children, but this is not a matter for the state.
Hmm and agree with pp comments about dad targeting. 26% compared to 43% isn't actually all that vast a difference really - but that over 50% don't have someone read with them at all is a much bigger deal. But still what age range are they talking about?
Something of the sanctimonious do gooding about a 'GET DADS READING' campaign.
Gets my back up and I'm not even a dad.
I think this is indicative Of the fact that women are more often the lower earners in a couple, and when children arrive, the ones most likely to give up work or work part time; therefore the ones who are more likely to be at home at bedtime, which is when most reading gets done.
It indirectly points to inequalities in earning potential, which is the real issue. The reading thing is just a symptom.
We don't have a 'main reader,' one if us will do it depending on work/shift patterns.
How much if an issue is it that fewer men read to their children? I should imagine the main reason us that with long commutes many men are not home in time for bed time. But they probably do other things at weekend etc.
Are there measured effects on children if only one carer reads to them? Does gender affect attainment / ie:do boys respond less well if read to by a woman?
Or in the end is it only important that someone reads to a child daily? And in that case is dad/grandad being unable to read to children as frequently as is acceptable to researchers another thing for parents to feel guilty about?
I'd prefer to have a general families reading to each other campaign otherwise it's a bit harsh to the dads that do read and to the mums tbh, don't forget the bigger brothers/sisters aunts and uncles/grandparents
I think if you looked at the amount of time spent reading to a child in relation to the amount of time spent with the child that many dad's would score much much better, I know DH would outstrip me by a good amount.
I agree that a better campaign would be to get more parents reading to their children.
DD1 generally reads her school books to me and DD2, she often reads picture books by herself to DD2 as well (it is very sweet )
I read books to both DD's whenever they ask (within reason) as does DH. We take turns in putting them to bed (they share a room) and get 3 picture books plus a chapter or so of a longer book or an audio book each night.
Does it matter who's reading to/with a child, as long as it's happening?
I'm DS's "main reader" as I'm the resident parent. He reads his school book to me on the days he's with me and I read to him at bedtime at least and other times too, if we fancy it. ExP listens to DS reading his school books on the two days he has him after school, and also reads him bedtime stories. I don't know how much other reading goes on when DS is with exP but I suspect very little.
Dh is the main reader here. He puts them to bed every night and reads a story with them/to them.
We have 3 kids.9 year old twin boys and an 8 year old girl.All are avid readers(we get through hoards of books every week)and all 3 were reading paperbacks by the Easter of reception.There are several reasons for this.As a mum of boys I find the subject fascinating.
Yes dp(dad) used to hear them read but I was the main person doing it as in my past life as a teacher I was a literacy co-ordinator so it made sense.I always read to them more also as I was at home with them however dp was better as he could do the funny voices etc.
We are a bookish family,give them as gifts and dp has a pile by the bed so although I was the main influence re reding they have always known that dp values books and reading is cool.
Reading matter and provision is equally important imvho. With boys you're competing with football and screens so books need to interest them and be quality,good condition and interesting to them. It is a costly business and The Book People do well out of us.
One of my boys loves mysteries and the other loves fantasy(both love Wimpy Kid type books).With boys you need to work a bit harder to get them hooked,find their book mojo and keep up a ready supply.Libraries could be doing more imvho and schools.
So yes encouraging dads to read more to their sons will help but it is far from the whole story-imvho.
That was in reply to the BBC link re boys slipping behind.
I don't think it matters who reads with DCs so long as someone does.
DH works long hours and if the DC had waited to do their reading til he got home they would all have been too tired and not in the right frame of mind to get the best out of it.
The DC know that DH places huge value on their all round education, he doesn't need to be the main reader with them to show that.
Oh and I think there isn't enough material for 8,9 and 10 year old confident boy readers.Boys are funny at this age and will reject anything they see as girly so after David Walliams,Wimpy Kid etc it can be hard to find material.Yes I've found some good stuff(Origami Yoda,Wonder,Tom Gates etc)however I've had to search them out. There seems to be all manner of stuff girls will gravitate to from the pink puppy shite to Ottoline.
Awaits flaming for being sexist however it has to be recognised that getting boys reading and continue to read is what is important.Boys can be funny at this age,even my football hating quite feminine boy will reject books he thinks are girly,his twin who is very boy orientated is heavily influenced by peer pressure.
Afternoon. We're moving this thread to Site Stuff now, as that's where we usually put this kind of "what do you think" thread.
Thanks for all your comments - keep em coming!
Another one here with a dh who works ling hours. He is out of the house 7am till 8pm so the kids are in bed when he gets in on a weekday.
Surely as ling as someone is reading with them then its all fine. I find the idea of people sad facing my my poor children because its only mummy who reads their bedtime story Patronising and disrespectful
Long* sorry. My fingers are to fat towork my phone keyboard
DH is one of the 90%, but that doesn't mean that he doesn't read to DS2 or that he isn't there while I'm reading bedtime stories. It's just that DS2 generally insists that I do the reading. This makes me the 'main reader'.
This is an interesting one. I too work long hours and am often not home before DD's bedtime (DS is beyond bedtime stories now) so not able to read every evening. However, DD does love me to read to her so I often get chosen over DW if I'm on a day off or at the weekends. Not always though. I would guess on average I read to her twice a week, usually at the weekends.
DD certainly is more receptive do doing her reading practice with me than with her Mummy (not sure why).
I think one of the major issues with bedtime reading by Dads is the type of books to read. I'm afraid I am not really going to be inspired to reading her very girl gender-stereotypical books (nor would she want me to) so we've read The Hobbit and I'm currently reading The Time Machine to her...you've got to find something that you are happy and comfortable to read and the child(ren) is happy to listen to.
DD is good at reading but still loves a picture book at bedtime so we tend to have some of those (and some such as the recent Richard Curtis twins one is just about the right level for her) and then a much more grown up book too. It's not always easy to predict what she will enjoy and not.
Yes, I'm all for it in theory but think the Dads have got to be up for it rather than coerced into it!
Both dh and i read regularly to our children. Dh is often home late also so he makes up for it on weekends.
So, I'd say i was the main reader.
I think I also expose the dc to books they might otherwise overlook if they chose it themselves. I supply most of the books too.
If dc ask 'can you read this?' I'd say yes, whereas Dh will say he will do it later if it's not something he's interested in and if he's tired. He admits this and that sometimes he doesn't have the energy to be all enthusiastic about a book.
He reads differently to me. Not nec better: I can't explain it simply, but I wish he would read more as the dc love it.
Does it really matter that the person reading to the child has a willy? Next, FASCINATING result is going to come out that men spend more time with their boys at football than the women of the house ....
It isn't worthy of a campaign .... In our house dad just has a better knack for fixing bikes and playing board games and I do the bedtime reading because he isn't back in time and I enjoy reading to my children.
Well its just me on my own since XH walked out. I look at DD's school books with her every night and we read them and I read her a bedtime story too.
I send her bookbag to XH's when she goes there EOW and he rarely looks at them with her. I have asked him to, as I told him that she needs to read every day and that the school said that it is good if dad's get involved.
But as with everything else with XH, if it doesn't suit him, he won't do it. Thankfully DD is too young to see stuff like this in the news, otherwise it could just make her feel bad that her dad isn't there every day to read to her......
The idea of a 'main reader' isn't helpful. Male role models who read are important, but I don't think this has to be a dad doing the "main" reading. Characters in TV programmes, in films, etc... how often are boy characters shown as "bookish" without being geeky/weak?
As an aside, I'm really irritated by the marketing of books at a main supermarket at the moment where there is a (pink) book of "Fairy Tales for Girls" and a (blue) "Fairy Tales for Boys". Who knew 3 Little Pigs was only suitable for one gender?
Technically I am main reader. But it is so much more complex.
They read to me before dh gets home (they read better at 4 pm than bedtime)
At the weekend they sometimes read out loud to him.
But he shares bedtime stories.
Complication is that my main language is English and dh Dutch. So dh is main reader in Dutch. Because English is not his first language, they prefer me to read out loud in English.
We realised that he was reading to them less and less, so we asked kids, they said they like the way mummy does different voices, so now dh is making a real effort to read aloud with different voices. Now they are happy to have him read them their stories.
We home schooled ds for 1.5 years when we were overseas and dh shared the home schooling.
I read to and with dd as I did the older ones. Dh never has done then again he never reads books for himself whereas I'm a bookworm and enjoy sharing books I read as a child. I'm not sure it matters who reads tbh so long as someone does. Of my five four are avid readers, not sure that dh reading to them would have altered that tbh.
To which gender is the 3 little pigs appropriate then? I can't for the life of me work it out.
Pet peeve. DH will NOT read to the DC. If he is doing school runs, he will get DD to read to him (she does her reading in the 15 min wait between dropping DS off and dropping her off), no problem with that, but if I am away they just don't get bedtime stories at all . It's not that he doesn't read himself - he does. Just not out loud to the DC
CheeseStrawWars - DD keeps being given those "tales for girls..." compendiums. I hate them, TBH, and try to
veto them persuade her to choose something else at bedtime.
I am the main reader in our house as my DH isn't a confident reader and the DC always want me to read to them.
When I was small though my dad was the
main reader, so I suppose it's just a case of whatever works best for your family.
In the past I have predominately been the main reader for our son as my husband was in the Royal Navy and deployed for 6+ months at a time. He is now in civvie street but often away from home and there is nothing that he and ds(7yrs) like better than face timing for bed time stories . They choose a selection of books together for dh to pack before he goes away and then we FaceTime daddy when ds is snuggled in bed and ready for his story. When both of us are at home ds tends to choose whose reading his story at night.
However, it is interesting that ds appears to choose very different types of books for us to read him. With dh he likes books that are a complete story and where daddy does different voices for each character With me he tends to choose chapter books (one chapter a night) where the picture is painted by the descriptive text rather than an actual illustration and we've just finished stig of the dump.
Ds has struggled with learning to read but has never been what I would term a reluctant reader as he has an absolute love of books and thankfully now is reading above his age. I believe a love of books and reading is what should be promoted and as long as someone close to the child is sharing that with them then it really doesn't matter who that person is.
Seems to me a non-issue...Maybe they just wanted to say 'read more to kids' but were looking for a different way to get that across.
I don't see why the sex of the reader is relevant. People do what works for them...I tend to read because DH is just home from work/knackered, but he sits and listens with DC.
I am the 'main reader' here as well, but I agree with others that the concept is not helpful. In our household it has happened for two reasons- firstly because DH enjoys bathtime with the kids more than I do, so that's his 'bit' of the bedtime routine, and the story is my bit. Secondly because as a primary teacher I have naturally always been very proactive about reading, and love doing it.
Can't pass a charity shop without buying at least two children's books.
However, my DDs also love stories with their dad and DH is more than happy to read to/with them. They are getting a very positive and thorough introduction to reading and books, and pretty much all the adults around them read for pleasure.
I think there are much more important things to focus on than who does the reading.
Dh is probably the main reader in our house. My daddy was too
It varies. If the dcs want a book reading in the day they tend to ask dh. During the week I don't really get asked by dd yet she hounds dh all weekend for stories! In the evening we do bath, stories and sleep. It varies who reads them. Sometimes I do one with dd in her bed, one with ds1 in his bed as dh is out, sometimes we divide and conquer. Dd usually gets 2 shorter books, ds1 gets a couple of chapters of his book.
I too thinbk it should just be about reading. Reading for pleasure, reading as a family. I think the saddest part is that so many children do not get read to by either their mother or their father.
I don't read to my DC any more, at 11 and 13 they read themselves, and don't choose to be read to. HOwever I do discuss books they are reading, and DS in particular enjoys recommending books for me to read (I've just read several of the CHERUB books because I wanted to know what he was reading). We also (all 4 of us) regularly listen to audiobooks together in the car, which we all enjoy.
I was the main reader as I was at home full time, but DH regularly did the bedtime story when they were small, though generally read downstairs when they were really tiny as I did BF in the bedroom last thing. DC see me read more, as I am still at home more than DH, and I do read more in general, but they certainly see both of us reading when on holiday.
I'm a bit torn about this campaign, I think we should be promoting reading to children by whoever, it doesn't really matter, but, if we want to raise a nation of men who read for pleasure than I agree it is important for men to model this, for reading not to be seen as something that only women do.
My dh is not a reader, he never has been and I suspect that, at almost 42, he probably never will be. He reads about 1 book a year, and it will be non-fiction.
He does occasionally read to ds, if I'm out for the evening and he is doing bedtime then that will include the bedtime story. But he is not a natural reader iykwim, it is not a pleasure for him the way it is for me.
What he will, however, do is spend hours with ds fiddling around on the bikes or car, explaining how the different tools work, how to use them etc etc
They make or put things together, go shopping for the right equipment and so on.
This sort of thing bores me stupid, it wouldn't occur to me to show ds how to do any of that stuff.
So I don't think it's about getting dads per se to read - I do think someone should read to children, certainly until they can read by themselves, and beyond that it can be a great pleasure for both too, but only if they both enjoy it. Insisting that dads should read more seems not right to me.
Maybe some fathers are out earning a living and can't get home for bedtime?
Just a thought. Books are not the be all and end all of parenthood you know.
PuffPants - not that I disagree with it not being the end of the world - but some mothers are out earning a living too!
Dh reads to ds2 every night. Ds1 mostly considers himself too
cool old to be read to, but if he ever deigns to he asks me.
I guess I am technically the main reader, but only because dh works in the pub trade and 5 days a wek doesnt get home till gone 10pm.
He likes reading with the dc but often because they are used to me reading to them, they play him up and give him trouble.
stealthsquiggle, the OP is about fathers not reading enough to their children. I gave a reason why that might be the case. The fact that mothers work too is irrelevant as they are not the ones being commented upon.
No - the question was about Fathers not being the majority readers to their DC. If both parents work FT, then there is no reason at all why working should impact who reads to the DC most (given that neither of them has lots of time at home with DC). Even FT working fathers get some time off, last time I checked.
I find this quite irritating. My husband was initially the main reader; when my first child was a baby he was back from work in time for bath and bedtime including stories, so that was their time together. Now we have several children we split it, neither of us is the main reader.
But given that more women than men work at home, are stay at home parents or work part time, women are more likely to be the main reader.
I think it's the main reader part of it that gets me. Much more helpful if they suggested sharing time at the weekend, and highlighted an issue of little reading by Dads to children, rather than this main reader focus.
DD won't allow me to read her a bedtime story on any day other than a Wednesday - every other night it must be done by Daddy!
I am the person who reads most of the bedtime stories to my DS, but this is because I am a SAHM and my DH doesn't get in until 8-9pm weekdays. However, he does the reading at the weekend and if he is lucky enough to be in before DS goes to bed.
It's not that he won't, he can't. We are all great lovers of books in our house and I'd hate for DH to feel bad because he is out earning a living and can't read to his son as much.
Sure stealth, IF both parents work full-time. But taken as a group, more fathers are likely to be in full-time work than mothers.
I too find the concept of a "main reader" to be a bit patronising. It seems also to be based on a premise where daddy comes home from work at 5pm, is embraced by mummy at the door, hot dinner for all at the table and then there is a choice every night about whether mummy or daddy read the bedtime story. That's some fairy tale for most households I can tell you.
In our house, I come back from work after bedtime 2 evenings a week (8pm ish) and DH comes back after bedtime (10pm ish) 3 evenings a week. So neither of us can say "I read to DD1 every day". Yet DD1 has a bedroom stuffed with hundreds of books and gets stories all evening long.
As Tethers succinctly says, if men read fewer stories, it's because women earn less. Simples. Who cares as long as children are getting read with?
What's a 'main reader'?
In our house, DH would love to read more to DS but DS prefers me reading to him. That's partly because I'm at work all day and he wants "Mummy" time, partly because he's at that age where boys can clash with the father figure, and partly (sorry DH) because I'm a little better at reading aloud.
And so what? DS is read to every single day. Conversely DH is probably the main "listener", because by the time I get home DS is too tired.
Plus, DH is the "main reader" to DD while I read to DS! It's a bit of a silly concept really isn't it?
I agree with Tethers.
Desperate scrabbling around for a headline, I guess.
It does annoy me, the story slant- because it insinuates that men are present but just don't care to read. When really, they are less present, due to the way our society is set up.
Men work more, they are more likely to be non-resident etc. It isn't that men are sat in front of the football, too lazy to pause with their kids with a book!
And it isn't that all books are too 'girly' somehow. Men are still less likely to be the main carer of children, so of course they'll be less likely to be the main reader, the main calpol dispenser, the main carrot masher...
It's a silly story.
What is the point of this survey? My children get read to every night without fail and have done since they were babies. Usually it is me who reads to them because my husband doesn't get home from work until 7.30pm. So what?
I am the main reader and was even when DH was the sahp. This is because dd1 loves Julia Donaldson books and DH being dyslexic struggles with them. He also finds doing voices hard. He does still read one of her three books most nights and all of them if I am tied up with the baby. She gets a bit frustrated with him though, as he is so tired when he gets in from work that he tends to fall asleep whilst reading to her.
Ok, to put a completely different slant on this.
I think the point is that there is a suggestion (evidence??) that boys especially do better at reading when they get male role models reading. If Dads don't read then it is seen as a 'girls' thing, or it is seen as not being macho.
There is anecdotal evidence that getting dads involved with reading with boys who are not enthusiastic, is very successful.
I personally think that the issue is more to do with households being 'reading' households or not. It is amazing how many houses do not actually have any books at all. The national average (20 years ago) used to be 5 books per house. As I probably have 300x that, then there must be many households with none. Role models again.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
DH reads to DD, in fact he is right now (different time zone). I am the main 'bather' and 'cooker' and 'holder down for vaccinations'. Does it really make a massive difference compared to not being read with/to at all?
I visit houses as part of my job. A more worrying trend that I see is no books at all. Bookshelves full of DVDs and PS3 games but no books.
DC's dad does reading less often, but does do quite a lot of it when they get round to it. They lie in bed together reading together or separately. I am the homework reading mum who mainly does bedtime reading too ( 50% of the time).
DH is at least an equal reader, which is lovely!
I have looked and cannot find the source of this "research". I wonder if its under "surveys of 9 people that make dads look bad so they will buy more books so that rich authors can live on the beach in Malibu"
Patronising rubbish, thinly veiled marketing for another self serving "charidee"
Plus the statistics are nonsense.
If the survey was 100 people then 46 readers were women and 23 were men, this means that 2.3 out of ten men are the main reader and 4.3 were women.
Where does 1 in 10 come from.
I am the main reader, as i work shorter hours than dh, so i am always home for bath and bedtime. Dh offers to read with ds at the weekend, as he doesnt work weekends, but ds prefers that I read the books. Apparently i 'read better' than dh. I think this means that i read more books than dh would, that i do different voices, and that essentially, he is more used to me reading to him than dh.
I dont think this is a matter for the state. As long as children are being read to, and both parents are spending time with their dc, its all good, isnt it?
I am the 'main reader' as DH is dyslexic and self conscious. Plus I do the voices better. However if I am holed up in a hot bath DH will read to them and they enjoy the change.
MrsTerryPratchett - if you came to our house you'd see a rack of CDs but no children's books, as they are in their own dedicated bookcase on the landing. I hope no one would think we have no books for the children! (I'm sure you'd thought of that, but just thought I'd mention it).
Well, neither of my DCs parents read to them every day...I read to them 5 out of 7 nights, ex-H reads to them every night of the every other weekend they spend with him and my parents read to them once a week when they look after them.
However, DS has lots of male reader role models...DBro emails news articles he thinks DS will be interested in, my Dad reads in front of him and with him, and our library has a male librarian who chats to DS about his choices of books.
The wording of the survey seems odd to me...as if only an adult who reads to a child every day 'counts' as a reader.
We live in a deprived area, where few parents prioritise reading with their children, and I agree with posters who suggest that any campaign should be to encourage anyone to read to children'
Another vote for encouraging anyone to read to DCs, rather than focussing on fathers. It takes no account of the shift from regular working patterns to long hours and that the stay at home/ part-time working parent is more likely to be female.
Under normal circumstances DH and I split bedtime stories 50:50 as we both work FT. We also read to and with them at other times, and they see us reading books and magazines. But as reading matter is increasingly in electronic format, I wonder how much of an influence seeing parents read will be in future? Unless it's a dedicated reading gadget and DCs understand what it's for, frankly you could just be playing games.
gaelicsheep please don't think I'm sitting there judging people for it. Most of DD's books are in her room. It's important, as others have said, that DC see their parents loving and reading books as well. If there are no adults' books in the house, that is unlikely.
I rarely read to my 9 month old - my other half is much better at it and will read him a book every night. At the moment it's frustrating as he keeps trying to eat the books (he's teething). The reason my OH is so great is because he ab-libs and has a great voice. I love to sit in with them both as he manages to make the most boring stories fun and engaging for our son. Strangely enough, he doesn't read for pleasure though and you're more likely to see my head in a book than him x
Dh reads to ds when he can but often gets home when the kids are already in bed so thats not often.
God, if anyone can get my children to actually listen to a story I'll be amazed. I tried to read to them last night. within seconds they said 'yeah mum' and started asking each other about skylanders or something.
I gave up and put the book down and wandered off. Happens every time.
Thanks for all your comments. Much appreciated.
It's OK MrsTerryPratchett, I was a bit rushed when I posted. I know you're not judging, and you're to be concerned to find book-free households. We are overflowing with them, and have also rediscovered the joy of the library (ordering books in to a convenient branch). I wish all children had ready access to books like mine do.
Outside: try audio books. In fact, audible has an app where they can earn badges and points for listening (just like a videogame reward system). Once you've got them listening, they'll start actually wanting to hear stories. DS1 used to listen to loads of audiobooks before he was a good enough reader to read the kind of stories he actually enjoys. Now that reading isn't an issue, he devours books at every opportunity. Once he got to primary school he wasn't all that keen on me reading to him, so I tried audiobooks to much success.
There are precious few adult books in this house. DH and I have hundreds of academic books that live in our offices at work but home is mostly full of children's/young adult books. I generally steal DS1's books and read them though. I love YA fiction.
DD reads her school books every day, then I read her a bedtime story, and she always goes to sleep listening to a story CD or nursery rhymes
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