herald

Sunday 20 January 2019

Parents too tired to read to children

THE majority of Irish parents have admitted that they are often too tired to read their children a bedtime story, a new study has revealed.

The survey found that less than one third of Irish children have a story read to them by their parents at bedtime.

Some 60pc of parents that took part in the study, admitted that work left them too tired to read to their children.

The study, carried out by Nestle Munch Bunch, comes in the wake of international research that shows that teenage literacy in Ireland is on the decline.



Stressful

And almost a half of those surveyed said there was too much to do at home to spend time reading with their child.

More than 60pc agreed that bedtime was a stressful time for parents but that a routine involving reading would help their child sleep.

Director of the National Adult Literacy Agency, Inez Bailey, said that parents' engagement with their children in terms of reading is crucial to improve literacy standards.

"Parents are the first and most constant educators of their children, so engagement in family literacy is particularly important. Yet not every parent finds it easy to help their child develop and learn.

"We frequently receive requests from parents looking for guidance in terms of helping their children, and in some cases themselves, in improving their literacy and numeracy.

"While family literacy programmes are being delivered in Vocational Educational Committees and other contexts, there is very little support for families wishing to address these issues themselves."

The government announced its strategy to improve literacy and numeracy among children in July after OECD data revealed that the reading ability of Irish 15-year-olds had fallen in terms of international rankings. Our teenagers' standard have fallen from fifth highest in 2000 to a poor 17th position in 2009.

A number of reforms are set to be rolled out this month which are aimed at improving literacy standards among our children. The plans include a requirement that primary students receive an hour and a half of lessons solely focused on reading each day.

There are also measures being considered which will reduce the number of Junior Cert subjects to eight, so as to allow for greater devotion to literacy and numeracy.

The estimated cost of implementing the strategy is €6m next year.

hnews@herald.ie

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