71% of mothers read a bedtime story to their children nearly every night


JUST FIVE per cent of mothers never read a bedtime story to their children, according to the findings of a new survey on parents and their reading habits.

The survey found 71 per cent of mothers read a bedtime story to their children nearly every night.

Of those, 28 per cent said they read to their children every night, while 30 per cent said they did so most nights. Some 13 per cent said they read to their children every other night. Most of the parents who did not read to their children said their children were either too young or too old.

All parents surveyed had at least one child under 10 years. One-fifth of mothers who did not read to their children said their hectic schedules were to blame.

Two-thirds of mothers said they began reading to their child before he or she was a year old, and more than a quarter read to their child from birth. The survey of 500 Irish mothers was conducted by Empathy Research in January. It was commissioned by Kellogg’s Rice Krispies to coincide with a new promotion of Irish children’s books involving The O’Brien Press and Hughes Hughes book stores.

Asked why only mothers were surveyed, Kellogg’s communications manager Louise Sullivan said the books promotion was carried on cereal boxes. “70 per cent of parents who do the main grocery shopping are mums,” she said. “Of course we know that Irish dads read to their kids too – they just don’t do the shopping as often.”

The survey also found that The Gruffaloby Julia Donaldson topped the list of mothers’ favourite children’s books. It was followed by Charlie and the Chocolate Factoryby Roald Dahl and The Cat in the Hatby Dr Seuss.

Asked who their favourite children’s author was, some 38 per cent chose Roald Dahl, while Enid Blyton got 24 per cent of the vote. Almost three-quarters of mothers said they read books by Irish authors to their children.

When asked who their favourite Irish authors were overall, Eoin Colfer topped the poll, followed by Maeve Binchy, Marian Keyes, Roddy Doyle and Cecelia Ahern.

The survey also found strong support for libraries with 71 per cent saying their children borrowed books from their local library.

Some 41 per cent of those surveyed said they bought books every month while 58 per cent said they bought them for birthdays, Christmas and special occasions.

No more storytelling, union tells library staff

IMPACT MEMBERS in Lucan library have been told by their union not to take part in storytelling activities for children, a library spokeswoman said.

The library informed its users yesterday that, due to official industrial action, it was unable to provide “Storytime” at Lucan Library on Wednesday afternoons for the foreseeable future. “We apologise for any inconvenience caused,” it said.

A library spokesman said staff had been instructed by Impact not to take part in storytelling from February 1st. Storytelling by people employed outside the library could continue, he said.

Impact, and other unions, began a work-to-rule last Monday week, in protest at budget cuts.