Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Research Report - Families That Read

This from the November issue of Journal of Research in Reading (Volume 33, Issue 4, 2010, pp 414–430). **The highlighting here is mine.**

Article Title: Families that read: A time-diary analysis of young people’s and parents’ reading

Abstract: Parents can play an important role in assisting their children to learn to read, and can act as good role models in promoting reading behaviour. While there has been a raft of research on the impact of parents as teachers, there has been little empirical analysis on the impact of parents in modelling reading. Addressing this gap in the literature with time-diary data, this paper presents a study of the association between parents’ and young people’s reading in the United Kingdom. The paper finds a strong association between parents’ and young people’s reading concentrated in households where parents are observed to read for more than 30 minutes per day. In addition, mothers’ reading is associated primarily with girls’ reading (especially in lone- mother households), while fathers’ reading is strongly associated with boys’ reading. Some implications for campaigns to encourage young people’s reading through increased parental reading are discussed.

Here are some things you should know about the method and data set.
  • This was a secondary data analysis from the UKTUS 2000–2001 that surveyed 6,414 households in the United Kingdom.
  • All individuals in the household aged 8 years and over (N 5 14,423) were asked to provide information about their activities, the other people they were with and their location in 10-minute intervals for a weekday and a weekend day.
  • This study looked at the reading behaviors of the parents as well.
  • The young people included in the sample resided in 981 households. There is information from 981 mothers and 749 fathers in the sample. (This means about one-quarter of these households are single parent, lone-mother households.)
Here are some of the more interesting results, some of which are not surprising.
  • Girls average significantly more reading time than boys.
  • There is no significant difference in the average reading time of young people in lone-mother households compared with those in two-parent households.
  • There is a difference in the average reading time of young people whose parents have a degree (20 minutes) compared with those whose parents do not have a degree (9 minutes).
  • Young people whose parents were observed to read for more than 30 minutes themselves average significantly more time reading than young people whose parents were not observed to read.
  • There is a relatively strong and statistically significant correlation between the proportion of time young people are at the same location as their parent and the time they spend reading. This shows that being in proximity to parents is an important factor in young people’s reading.
I'll say that the gender correlation bothers me a bit. What about households where single parents or same sex parents don't share the gender of their children? Regardless of the family configuration (single dad and daughter, single mom and son, two dads with a daughter, or two moms with a son), I would like to think that modeling and encouraging the habit of reading transcends gender.

Overall, this is one more set of data points that speaks to the importance of modeling and making time for reading at home.

1 comment:

  1. Here's the main correlation I've found--obsessive reading on the part of the parents leads to irregular meal times for the children.