Monday, 14 April 2008

Bedtime reading

Apparently less than half of fathers regularly read bedtime stories to their children, according to a recent National Year of Reading Survey. I wondered what other types of reading dads did with children, but the summary of the report didn't say. Of course reading a child a story just before he or she goes to sleep can be a magical moment, but I do not understand why many still privilege this reading activity above all others when 25 years ago now Shirley Brice Heath showed clearly and convincingly that not all cultural groups undertake this practice and that there are other pathways to a literate life. As Neil Mercer and Joan Swann suggested in 1996 in their book 'Learning English': 'children's interactions with print may be rich and varied even when story-reading happens infrequently' (p100). So I wish the NYR survey had asked dads what other kinds of reading they did with their children....

6 comments:

Kagahn said...
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guy said...

What are the four out of ten dads reading to their children at bedtime? Now that would be interesting to know.... When and how are the others engaged in shared reading? As long as 'the book' and the bedtime routine remain privileged, we're going to be limited in the questions answered and the kinds of answers we get.

Simply Clare said...

The dad in this house does a bit of bedtime reading with the boys - it has to be said - BUT much prefers to watch Tiger Woods in the Masters with them on his laptop. As you can imagine, this is a meaning making activity that all three of them cherish.

Jackie Marsh said...

Yes, I agree Guy - and I like the example of Tiger Woods, Clare. Guess that is one family activity you don't enjoy as much?!

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DrJoolz said...

I have just had it explained to me that Tiger Woods is not a cartoon character but a person who plays golf. So I hope that at this time you are painting you toenails Simply Clare?