Egmont battles “steep decline in children’s reading” with government lobbying mission

Fewer parents are reading to their children by the age of eight amid a “steep decline in the number of children being read to daily,” is the latest eye-opening piece of insight from the book publishing house, Egmont.

It was at the firm’s Annual Consumer Insight Day that Egmont detailed a ‘steep decline in the number of children aged 0 to 13 years old being read to each day. The figure has dropped by one fifth since the survey began in 2012.

The research also revealed that parents stop reading to their children by the age of eight, in spite of data that suggests older children – those aged eight to 13 – are more than twice as likely to read independently for pleasure when read to by an adult daily.

“Reading for pleasure has a measurable impact on children, not only in terms of literacy but also on their overall wellbeing, development and attainment in subjects such as maths as well as English,” read a statement from Egmont.

“Children who think positively about reading are significantly less likely to report mental health problems and reading for pleasure has a four-times greater impact on academic success than a parent having a degree.”

Egmont has been active in the mission to increase the numbers of children being read to and reading for themselves by working closely with schools and retailers, partnering with the likes of St Joseph’s Catholic Academy to discover whether daily teacher-led storytime sessions would inspire reading in children.

Teachers recorded a “dramatic improvement in the children’s reading skills, as well as a significantly greater level of excitement around books, magazines and reading in general,” in just five months of the trial.

Further to the latest results, Egmont has launched its Stories and Choices project through which it is lobbying government to make storytime a compulsory part of the primary school day and to make explicit to parents the benefits of reading to their children.

“We are proud of what we are doing as a company to change the reading culture in the UK and hugely appreciative of the support and enthusiasm for our work,” continued the Egmont statement.

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