We asked and you answered!
At the start of the year, we launched our Parents & Children Reading Survey 2014. The intent was to help us track the reading behaviour of a typical Singaporean parent and their child/children so you can use that as a personal benchmark for your family as well.
And thanks to the support of all 201 of you, the results of the survey are out!
(For a detailed visualisation of the findings, check out the infographic we have created by scrolling to the bottom of this page)
But first, here's a quick summary:
1. 6 in 10 parents started reading aloud to their child/children before they turned 1
And boy are we glad to hear that! As we mentioned in this earlier blog post of ours, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends reading aloud daily to your baby starting at 6 months of age - about the time when he'll really begin to enjoy looking at books with you. On the other hand, Jim Trelease, longtime read-aloud expert and author of the Read Aloud Handbook, says that you can start when your child's a newborn. All that means is, the earlier you start reading aloud to your child, the better it is.
2. 49% of children read ebooks
While we do know the penetration of mobile devices in Singaporean families is high, this is probably the first piece of real evidence that ownership of mobile devices has translated into changes in children's reading behaviour as well. Even though we understand that families will not shun away from mobile devices any time soon, it might be worthwhile equipping yourself with the necessary information about the pros and cons of e-reading.
In this post we did in 2012, we talked about 2 studies that explored the differences between reading an e-book and a print book. While the results are preliminary at best, it is interesting to note that reading a print book does seem to help children retain information a lot better than an ebook, which could distract children from the reading experience itself. Of course, if your child does not enjoy reading in the first place, ebooks could be a great way to get them started. Children do seem to respond better to the interactive experience offered by touchscreen devices so as a parent, you will have to practise your good judgment to decide when your child should be given an ebook and when they should be exposed to a print book.
3. 71% of parents believe that ideally, parents should read aloud to their child every day. Yet, in reality, only 39% of parents actually do that.
Celebrated children's author, Mem Fox, says that when children spend 15 minutes each day reading or being read to, it will help them become excellent readers, writers and thinkers.
But with the hectic lives that we lead today, we know how difficult and challenging it can be to make the time and commitment to read aloud to your child every day. Check out our interviews with mummy bloggers, Alicia and Winnie to find out how they do it.
4. 90% of children own less than 100 books
Many of you might wonder, why is there a need for a child to own so many books? After all, they could always visit the library for them. In this post we did some time back, a University of Nevada study found that growing up in a home with 500 books would propel a child 3.2 years further in education, on average than would growing up in a similar home with few, or no books.
So the next question would be, are parents replacing a child's home library with actual visits to the public library?
5. Only 18% of parents bring their child/children to the library at least once a week for the purpose of reading/borrowing books
In fact, a good 36% of parents rarely or never bring their children to the library. And that is indeed a worrying fact. At My Imagination Kingdom, we view the public library as a very important part of a child's reading ecosystem. After all, there's no other institution that provides better access to books than the public library. Do you fall under this segment of parents? If so, we want to hear why. Share with us your thoughts by leaving a comment at the bottom of this page.
And that's the summary of the top findings we have for you. For a detailed visualisation of the rest of the findings, check out the infographic we have created!