Word up the young
Book your children a bright future
PARENTS want their children to spend more time with their noses in a book rather than glued to a screen.
A survey of 1000 parents and grandparents, commissioned by News Corp Australia, found 86 per cent of respondents wanted their children and grandchildren to spend more time reading books. And more than 88 per cent read to their children and grandchildren at least once a week.
But the lure of electronic devices was cited as one of the biggest barriers to reading.
A vast majority of respondents said it was easier to engage children’s attention with a screen than with a book.
Professor Frank Oberklaid, director of the Centre for Community Child Health at the Royal Children’s Hospital, said fostering a positive relationship with books started from birth.
“Babies aren’t going to understand books, but reading to them regularly gets them into the rhythm of reading, and develops an understanding that reading books is something fun to do,” he said.
To highlight the importance of literacy, this month the Herald Sun and Australia Post are encouraging Australians to Raise a Reader.
As part of the campaign, children across Australia will be asked to write a letter to an Australian legend of their choice. Prizes from Australia Post and News Corp Australia are on offer for the best letters.
Brothers, Adrian, 8, and Eli, 7, will both be doing their part.
Adrian, who loves collecting and building with Lego, will be writing to Amber Naismith, associate producer of the Lego film franchise, to ask how the movie was made and how long it took to create.
Eli will write to soccer star Tim Cahill to ask how old he was when he began playing, how often he practised, and which trophy he prized most.
Their dad, Joseph Calarco, said: “I think it’s far better for their education and development to be reading and writing rather than using their devices.
“We read together every night — it’s positive family time for us.
“We’ve seen how it has given them great imaginations. It opens up new worlds.”
Another survey last year, by the Parenting Research Centre, found parents of some children under the age of two said the children were spending too long on screens, often unsupervised. At that age, they are not supposed to be using electronic devices at all.
The survey also found that 25 per cent of children aged three to five, and 44 per cent aged six to 12, spent too much time on screens.
A further study by Outdoor Play and Learning in Australia found that Australian children were glued to the TV, smartphones, and video games for up to 20 hours a week. SEE FRIDAY’S HERALD SUN FOR DETAILS ON HOW TO ENTER THE RAISE A READER LETTER-WRITING COMPETITION
Brothers Adrian and Eli set about writing their Raise a Reader letters.