Primary school teachers are likely to witness better academic performance from pupils whose parents continue reading to them for longer, a new report has indicated.
A study conducted on behalf of Oxford University Press (OUP) revealed that, out of 1,000 parents on six-to-11 year olds polled, 44 per cent rarely or never read to their child after they turned seven.
OUP's report warns this is a missed opportunity for parents, citing National Literacy Trust research showing pupils who read outside class are 13 more times more likely to read above the expected level for their age.
It also proffered parents advice from former primary school head James Clements, who argued taking just ten minutes each day to read with their child could make a huge difference, describing it as "one of the best ways they can support their education".
BBC News cited Mr Clements as stating: "Reading together six days a week means an extra hour of support for a child. It's definitely cheaper than an hour with a tutor and it could make a much bigger difference."
He suggested parents should choose a wide variety of books to introduce children to a variety of language types and styles, and take turns to read to each other, so children can learn from parents' expressive reading and parents can monitor children's reading development.
Furthermore, Mr Clements said parents should regularly ask their children questions about the book they are reading, make sure they understand any new words and phrases, and allow themselves to become absorbed in and enjoy the book as well.
This comes after a survey by retailer Littlewoods found only 64 per cent of parents with children under seven read to them, while only one in five read to their children every night, with lack of time and stress contributing to these trends.
The positive effects of encouraging children to read for pleasure was highlighted by recent research at the Institute of Education showing it can bolster their vocabulary development, spelling and mathematical ability.
Posted by Tim Colman