Beat the Bedtime Story Blues

One in ten parents struggles when it comes to reading their children a bedtime story. But, because a book before bed is good for both parents and child, a new initiative is trying to encourage Mums and Dads to improve their reading skills.

Sadly, a book before bed is a chore for some...

Bedtime stories are a struggle, not a joy, for one in ten parents. A new survey by Learndirect, the adult learning organisation, has found that ten percent of us have problems understanding the stories we read to our children at bedtime. Almost a quarter ignore passages we find difficult to read, or invent words simply to get to the end of a sentence.

But despite the problems, the poll – of 1,000 parents with children aged between five and ten - found that families enjoy reading stories together. Parents read to their children, on average, four times a week, and almost three quarters prefer reading to playing in the park or even watching television.

Because of this, Learndirect is trying to encourage those parents who find reading difficult, to improve their skills. It has launched a free children's book, and accompanying website, called Where Did the River Go? to persuade parents to “test” themselves as they read to their children. The book contains English and maths puzzles to help readers work out where to go next.
"Reading together as a family is very important to us,” says TV presenter Eamonn Holmes, who is backing the initiative. “It's an opportunity for quality time and we can do it anywhere. It's a good way to test yourself but it doesn't take away from the enjoyment of reading with your kids.”

Reading is good for parents and children

Reading has long been recognised as an excellent way for children’s brains to develop. It is also a fine way for parents to bond with even the youngest child, as they can point out objects in pictures and ask questions about the story too.
"When parents read to children they are physically close, giving all their attention to their children and sharing the experience of reading something they both enjoy," says child psychologist Pat Spungin. "In this age of screen-based leisure, regular reading with young children can establish good long term reading habits."

Related links

Find out more

  • Where Did the River Go? Try out the new Learndirect book, which aims to help parents read to their children more easily.

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