Nearly eight in 10 (78%) parents read to their children the same books they read to them as children, new research suggests.
A recent survey of 2,000 parents with school-age children (ages 5-18) found that the majority say they “always” or “often” read to their children before bed (63%), with an average of four nights a week.
When reading to their children at night, parents choose from an average of three books from their children’s “bedtime reading” collection.
While most respondents shared that their children’s bedtime stories consist of fairy tales (38%) or adventure books (38%), others opt for non-traditional stories such as informational books (32%) or historical books. (31%).
The survey, conducted by OnePoll for ThriftBooks, also found that most parents read hard copies of books to their children (68%), but most are not opposed to having technology mixed in with digital editions (67%) and audiobooks (59%). %).
And children aren’t the only ones who enjoy story time: 81% of those who read to their children at bedtime said it also helps them fall asleep.
No matter the format, most parents want to set an example for their children by reading more (83%). Parents read to their children even more, but cite being too tired after work (50%) and not having enough books at home (49%) as barriers.
Still, books (55%) and magazines (54%) are popular reads for parents every week, and the average respondent said they would read three more books a week if it meant their child would read more, too.
Many hope their child can follow suit, with almost a third saying their child is more likely to listen to a book read by them than by their partner (31%).
Change can be a good thing, according to parents who would be open to modernizing versions of classic books they enjoyed as children (73%).
Some ways they’d like to see their favorites reimagined are to tell the story from another character’s perspective (66%) or retell the story in a different genre (55%).
Additionally, three-quarters of parents would be open to modernizing versions of classic books if they inspired their children to read (78%).
“Story time can take many different forms, all of which can be equally effective in nurturing a child’s love of reading,” said a ThriftBooks spokesperson. “It’s great to see parents scheduling time to read with their children, and it’s especially important to do so in the summer months; several studies over the years have shown that summer vacation can lead to a loss of academic skills, including reading.”
Encouraging their children to read more proves to be important for parents if they are open to reinterpreting these classics, as parents treasure their favourites, with 37% saying the oldest book they own is at least 20 years old.
However, parents may not need to worry about their children’s interest in reading, as most stated that their children like reading more than playing on their tablet (72%).
Fifty-nine percent said their child was eager to start reading on their own, learning at age four.
“Summer is a great time to get your favorite books out in the fresh air. Taking a trip to your local library together and exploring their summer reading programs and book lists can keep children’s minds stimulated with stories before they head back to school,” the spokesperson added.
This random, dual-participation survey was commissioned by ThriftBooks among 2,000 parents of school-age children (ages 5-18) between March 23-28, 2023. It was conducted by a market research company A pollwhose team members are members of the Market Research Society and have corporate membership in the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) and the European Society for Opinion and Market Research (ESOMAR).