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One in six of us was not read to by our parents, poll shows

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Fergus Cooper from Save the Children stressed the importance of parents reading to their children

Fergus Cooper from Save the Children stressed the importance of parents reading to their children

Fergus Cooper from Save the Children stressed the importance of parents reading to their children

Only one in 12 people in Northern Ireland was read to every day when they were children, new research has found.

The shock statistic has come to light from new research commissioned by the charity Save the Children.

Only 8% said they had been read to every day as a child. Some 24% said they had been read to a few times a week, while most (38%) said they had been read to a few times a month.

However, 14% said they were read to only a few times a year when they were a child, and 16% said they were never read to at all.

Almost all of those surveyed (95%) said they felt it was important to read well, however more than one in six of our children leaves primary school without the expected standard in literacy, according to the Northern Ireland Audit office.

Just 5% of those surveyed by local polling body LucidTalk were neutral on the issue, while none believed reading well was not important.

Only a small minority of those surveyed read books regularly.

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When asked about their reading material, most read newspapers, websites or magazines rather than books.

Some 11% said they read books, while far more (37%) read newspapers, 30% read websites and 22% read magazines.

Fergus Cooper from Save the Children stressed the importance of parents reading to their children.

"These findings matter because reading to your child before school age helps with language development, an essential precursor to education attainment," he said.

"The National Literacy Trust, one of the partners in the Read On. Get On. campaign suggests that reading as little as 10 minutes a day to, or with your, child can give them the skills and confidence they need to do better at school - and in life."

In September Save the Children launched the Read On. Get On. campaign in coalition with a range of organisations.

"Our mission is to see all children start secondary school as confident readers by 2025," Mr Cooper explained.

"Our schools and teachers are already doing their bit but the key to improving reading attainment is what happens in the home and in our communities.

"We need to mobilise everyone, parents, grandparents, neighbours, politicians, business and community volunteers to crack this problem once and for all."

Kieran Harding of Business in the Community in NI, a coalition partner in Read On. Get On. said reading from an early age was "imperative for any child's future".

Polling was carried out by Belfast-based polling and market research company LucidTalk, which interviewed a random sample of 1,089 Northern Ireland residents aged at least 18 years, by telephone (approximately 90%), and direct Face-to-Face (approximately 10%).

How important do you think it is to be able to read well?

Very important 88%

Important 7%

Neutral 5%

Not important 0

How often were you read to as a child?

Every day 8%

A few times a week 24%

A few times a month 38%

A few times a year14%

Never16%


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