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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)
MylinhMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 27-Feb-13 10:16:14


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?


cleanandclothed Wed 27-Feb-13 10:24:05

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.

DreamsTurnToGoldDust Wed 27-Feb-13 10:25:36

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.

Animation Wed 27-Feb-13 10:27:30

Feels very patronising to dads. hmm

My kids have a dad who's great at bedtime reading. Is this a valid survey - how large is it?

cleanandclothed Wed 27-Feb-13 10:28:15

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.

DreamsTurnToGoldDust Wed 27-Feb-13 10:28:58

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?

Ninetyninepercent Wed 27-Feb-13 10:31:18

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.

SavoyCabbage Wed 27-Feb-13 10:31:46

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.

somebloke123 Wed 27-Feb-13 10:32:36

It's obviously good to read to your children, but this is not a matter for the state.

Ninetyninepercent Wed 27-Feb-13 10:37:33

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?

Animation Wed 27-Feb-13 10:38:06

Something of the sanctimonious do gooding about a 'GET DADS READING' campaign.

Gets my back up and I'm not even a dad.

tethersend Wed 27-Feb-13 10:40:47

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.

ubik Wed 27-Feb-13 10:40:50

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?

Titsalinabumsquash Wed 27-Feb-13 10:41:38

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

EskSmith Wed 27-Feb-13 10:59:01

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 smile )
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.

BornToFolk Wed 27-Feb-13 11:11:51

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.

craftynclothy Wed 27-Feb-13 11:13:38

Dh is the main reader here. He puts them to bed every night and reads a story with them/to them.

PolkadotCircus Wed 27-Feb-13 12:15:59

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

PolkadotCircus Wed 27-Feb-13 12:21:12

That was in reply to the BBC link re boys slipping behind.

DeafLeopard Wed 27-Feb-13 12:29:19

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.

PolkadotCircus Wed 27-Feb-13 12:30:58

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.

PolkadotCircus Wed 27-Feb-13 12:36:31

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.sad

HelenMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 27-Feb-13 13:50:31

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!

Petsinmypudenda Wed 27-Feb-13 13:58:33

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

Petsinmypudenda Wed 27-Feb-13 13:59:42

Long* sorry. My fingers are to fat towork my phone keyboard

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