Parents believe nursery has more influence on children's reading than they do, survey suggests
Michael Glenister, 02 March 2012, 10:43am
Many parents consider early years settings to be more important than the home environment when it comes to children's communication and literacy skills, according to research published by the charity National Literacy Trust (NLT).
Almost a third of parents said they did not consider themselves to be the main influence on children’s communication and language skills, with 15 per cent citing school and nursery teachers as the primary influence on children’s communication skills.
As a result, 14 per cent of parents shun the opportunity to read to their children at home, as shown by the poll of 1,000 parents of 0-16-year-olds, carried out as part of the launch of the NLT’s Words for Life campaign.
Clare Bolton, campaign manager at Words for Life, encouraged nurseries to work in conjunction with parents to improve literacy standards. 'It’s about getting parents involved as much as possible in what is happening in the nursery,' she said.
'Reinforcing messages from the nursery environment is really important and nurseries can help by doing things like sending reading lists home with children and celebrating World Book Day in order to get families talking about reading.'
The Words for Life campaign encourages parents to aid the development of children’s reading and communication skills and provides tips and guidance for parents on their website.
Advice for reading with three- to five-year-olds includes hints such as voicing different characters to bring children’s books to life. The site also includes resources such as worksheets and puzzles relating to popular children’s books.
Ms Bolton also encourages nurseries to use the resources as well in order to promote literacy among children.
'If nurseries can use the resources and encourage children and parents to utilise those resources at home and create continuity between the two environments then that is fantastic,' she said.
Bestselling author James Patterson is also supporting the campaign. He encouraged parents to set an example to children by reading at home themselves.
'Let's face it, most of us don't realise it, but we are failing our kids as reading role models,' he said.
'The best role models are in the home: brothers, fathers, grandfathers, mothers, sisters, grandmothers. Mums and dads, it's important that your kids see you reading. Not just books – reading the newspaper is good too.'
The research did find that 91 per cent of parents wanted to spend more time reading with children.
Words for Life has a limited number of bags of books available as giveaways to support the launch. More information on the campaign can be found on www.wordsforlife.org.uk.