Put fun back into reading
READING and writing has become another source of parental guilt, with a majority of parents acknowledging their children don’t spend enough time on these basic skills.
A national poll of 1000 parents and carers, commissioned as part of the Cairns Post’s Raise a Reader literacy campaign, found 60 per cent of parents feel guilty about their children not doing enough reading and writing in their spare time – with many blaming digital devices.
Almost 70 per cent said it was easier to engage their children with screens than with reading and writing – a result that does not surprise Michelle Mowbray of early literacy program Ready to Read.
“If most kids are given a choice between screen time and reading, screens win every time,” she said. “It’s like lollies versus broccoli – reading doesn’t have the same neurological rewards built in.”
The survey findings follow from the latest UNICEF report card which found Australia trails behind most OECD countries in quality education, scraping in at 39th out of the 41 countries assessed.
Professor Frank Oberklaid, director of the Centre for Community Child Health at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, said reading and writing should be priorities.
“Literacy is the building block of academic success,” he said. “Babies might not be able to understand the story, but they will look at the pictures and understand that books represent something fun.”