As a lover of the written word, and author of “The Adventures of Blackberry and Whiskers,” I cannot picture my life, or childhood for that matter, without a good book. From the books chosen by my teachers, as a child, to the works of art I choose to read today, I cannot imagine living in a world without being able to escape to another one every now and again.
Surprisingly, it seems reading does not appeal to children today as it did when I was a child. Anyone can read anything they want, about any subject, yet reading is not in the top 3 things a child would like to do. I know, as I have conducted a survey in my local community.
I asked 100 children, ranging in age from 8 – 13, the following questions:
1) How often do you read something that you pick out?
2) What are the top three things you would do with an hour of free time?
3) Do your parents read to or with you?
Out of the 100 children asked I received the following results (by percentage):
Question 1: NO: 84% YES: 9% Don’t Read At All: 7%
Question 2: Reading was included in the top three things by ONLY 2% -- That is two children!!!!!
- Number 1 response by 84% related to video games or television
Question 3: NO: 79% YES: 14% Don’t Read At All: 7%
These numbers are astonishing!!! Something I did not include above, in the results, is the fact that out of the 2% of children that DID include reading in their top three things to do, they also fall into the percentage of children that have parents reading with them and/or to them. Let’s do some basic math.
2 in 100 children mentioned reading in their responses to question number 2. They fell into the group of 14 kids whose parents are involved with their reading. If we were to increase the number of parents getting involved with our children’s reading, it seems obvious that the number of children putting reading into their top three things to do will also increase. If the number of parents involved with their child’s reading went from 14% to 84%, the number of children including reading in their top three would change to 12%, based on my math.
As parents we need to get involved. We need to make reading enjoyable yet almost mandatory in the household. I began reading to my daughter when she was still developing inside of my wife’s womb. When she was born, it seemed as if no matter what the problem, reading would almost always sooth her. Throughout her almost 7 years, not a night has gone by where she wasn’t read to or reading to her mother and me. Now that she is a bit older, we let her run wild in the library and pick out 3 small books, or 1 big book, per week. She loves this and this promotes her reading something that interests her. Reading has been a part of her life for all of her life and I would imagine that she does not even know that reading is an option.
Parents, I task you with unlocking the door to the magical wonders of the written word. With some of the greatest authors and illustrators in the business, there will never be a shortage of EXCELLENT reading material for your child, regardless of age or interest.
Proud Father and Children’s Book Author