While I personally love to write about topics or situations that I have a passion for, primarily about kids and the importance of encouraging them to be readers, I will on occasion, come across someone else’s article that conveys the same message. The following article written by Frank Cottrell, a British screenwriter avers precisely my sentiments about the importance of reading to children.
Nightly Bedtime Stories in Peril
The childhood tradition of a bedtime story is in serious peril, as experts warn that parents are not making the time to read to their children at the end of the working day, and stop reading to them at too young an age. “Parents lead very, very busy lives,” said Diana Gerald, chief executive of the Book Trust, which encourages children and families to enjoy books and develop their reading skills. “We live in a world where parents are juggling work and home life. Lots of parents are working shifts and there’s a lot of pressure on families. People are increasing their hours.”
A recent survey revealed last week that many parents stop reading to their children when they become independent readers, even if the child isn’t ready to lose their bedtime story. The study found that 83% of children enjoyed being read aloud to, with 68% describing it as a special time with their parents. (“It felt so warm, so spirit-rising,” as one 11-year-old boy put it.) One in five of the parents surveyed stopped reading aloud to their children before the age of nine, and almost a third of children aged six to 11 whose parents had stopped reading aloud to them wanted them to carry on.
“The joy of a bedtime story is the key to developing a love of reading in children”, he said – more so than literacy classes in school, which can be “a very negative experience”, for the many children he meets during visits to schools, whose first experience of books is in the classroom. “They’re being taught to read before anyone has shared with them the pleasure of reading – so what motivation have they got to learn?” he continued. “Even the ones that attain high levels of ‘literacy’ (whatever that is) are in danger of achieving that without ever experiencing the point of reading.” Cottrell Boyce is passionate about preserving the bedtime story. “Great ideas come from people who are able to bring their whole selves – emotional as well as rational, memory as well as logic – to bear on problems. Bedtime stories give reading an emotional depth. Why would you ever stop? This is something people have done since the days of sitting around campfires napping flints. To stop doing it now is to break the great chain of our being.”
Excerpted from an article written by Mr. Cottrell in September, 2015