Booktrust campaign to get dads reading

Only one in eight fathers take the lead in reading to their children, according to a new report commissioned by reading charity Booktrust.

Bestselling author James Patterson is backing the charity's campaign to get more men involved with reading to their children, and visited a dads' reading group in Greenwich yesterday afternoon (21st February) alongside HRH The Duchess of Cornwall.

The poll, carried out by Opinium, revealed that only 13% of fathers are the main reader, with a quarter of dads blaming working late for not having the time to read to their children. Further research, carried out with the Institute of Education, shows many fathers feel reading is a "female domain", and that when they do read, they prefer to read to their daughters.

James Patterson, who, as well as being the bestselling thrillerwriter in the world and the most borrowed author from UK libraries, founded the website ReadKiddoRead, said: "If we can get children reading and enjoying books, we open up a whole world of possibility to them. I believe that dads have a huge role to play in encouraging their children to read.  We need to give fathers the support they need in reading to their children. If I can
help dads to understand their role in making books and reading more important in children's lives, I'll be a happy man."

Booktrust chief executive Viv Bird, who was interviewed on this morning's BBC Radio 4 "Today" programme about the campaign, said: "The most crucial thing for dads to understand is that if kids see their dads reading they're more likely to enjoy it themselves. There is evidence that boys are slipping further behind girls in reading ­ and this emphasises how important it is that dads are positive role models to their sons as well as their daughters when it comes to reading."

The research, which was undertaken with more than a thousand parents of children up to the age of 11, also found that 43% of mothers read to their children every day.