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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?


Skyebluesapphire Thu 28-Feb-13 23:17:12

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

ArbitraryUsername Thu 28-Feb-13 19:38:16

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.

ArbitraryUsername Thu 28-Feb-13 19:36:08

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.

gaelicsheep Thu 28-Feb-13 19:05:34

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.

HelenMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 28-Feb-13 17:27:02

Thanks for all your comments. Much appreciated.

OutsideOverThere Thu 28-Feb-13 17:03:09

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.

trikken Thu 28-Feb-13 14:37:10

Dh reads to ds when he can but often gets home when the kids are already in bed so thats not often.

MyMillsBaby Thu 28-Feb-13 14:35:00

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

MrsTerryPratchett Thu 28-Feb-13 14:22:04

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.

BlueyDragon Thu 28-Feb-13 14:14:05

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.

ballstoit Thu 28-Feb-13 14:01:58

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 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'

gaelicsheep Thu 28-Feb-13 13:10:32

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).

peeriebear Thu 28-Feb-13 12:03:25

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.

happyjustobeme Thu 28-Feb-13 11:20:16

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?

TheFallenNinja Thu 28-Feb-13 08:48:05

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.

TheFallenNinja Thu 28-Feb-13 08:22:19

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"

Lostonthemoors Thu 28-Feb-13 07:46:05

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

whodunnit Thu 28-Feb-13 01:25:25

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).

MrsTerryPratchett Thu 28-Feb-13 01:06:07

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.

lisad123everybodydancenow Wed 27-Feb-13 22:41:10

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

steppemum Wed 27-Feb-13 22:35:05

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.

StitchAteMySleep Wed 27-Feb-13 22:33:35

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.

yousankmybattleship Wed 27-Feb-13 21:39:35

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?

Spoonful Wed 27-Feb-13 21:38:20

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.

gaelicsheep Wed 27-Feb-13 21:07:18

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?

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