A recent poll suggests that nearly 78% of parents read their children the same books that were once read to them during their own childhood.
The survey, conducted among 2,000 parents with school-age kids (aged 5-18), revealed that most parents claim to read to their child before bedtime, with 63% reporting that they do so “always” or “often,” averaging four nights per week.
During bedtime reading sessions, parents typically choose from an average of three books from their child’s collection of bedtime reads.
While fairy tales (38%) and adventure books (38%) are popular choices for bedtime stories, other parents opt for non-traditional genres such as informational books (32%) or historical books (31%).
The study, conducted by OnePoll on behalf of ThriftBooks, also found that the majority of parents prefer reading physical copies of books to their children (68%), but are open to incorporating technology through digital editions (67%) and audiobooks (59%).
Interestingly, it’s not just the children who benefit from story time. A significant 81% of parents who read to their child at bedtime reported that it helps them fall asleep as well.
Regardless of the reading format, a vast majority of parents (83%) expressed their desire to set an example for their child by reading more. However, some barriers preventing them from doing so include exhaustion after work (50%) and a perceived lack of books at home (49%).
Nevertheless, books (55%) and magazines (54%) remain popular reading materials for parents on a weekly basis. The average respondent stated that they would read three more books per week if it encouraged their child to read more as well.
Many parents hope that their child will follow their example, with nearly one-third (31%) claiming that their child is more likely to listen to a book read by them compared to their partner.
Parents also show openness to modernizing classic books they enjoyed during their own childhood (73%). Some of the suggested changes include retelling the story from another character’s perspective (66%) or presenting the story in a different genre (55%).
Furthermore, an impressive 78% of parents expressed willingness to embrace modernized versions of classic books if it inspired their child to read.
“Storytime can take various forms, all of which can effectively foster a love for reading in children,” stated a spokesperson for ThriftBooks. “It’s encouraging to see parents dedicating time to read with their kids, particularly during the summer months when studies have shown that academic skills, including reading, can experience a decline.”
Encouraging children to read more remains a priority for parents, especially considering that 37% of respondents stated that the oldest book they own is at least 20 years old.
However, parents may not need to worry about their child’s interest in reading, as a majority (72%) claimed that their child prefers reading over playing on tablets. Additionally, 59% mentioned that their child displayed eagerness to read independently by the age of four.
“As summer approaches, it’s a great opportunity to enjoy your favorite books outdoors. Visiting the local library together and exploring their summer reading programs and book recommendations can keep children engaged with stories before they return to school,” added the spokesperson.
This survey involved 2,000 parents of school-aged children (5-18) and followed a random double-opt-in process. ThriftBooks commissioned the survey between March 23 and March 28, 2023. The study was conducted by OnePoll, a market research company whose team members are affiliated with the Market Research Society and hold corporate membership in the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) and the European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research (ESOMAR).
Sam Allcock is the CEO of PR FIRE – PR & Content Marketing Platform
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