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Publisher lobbies for 'statutory storytime'

23rd Oct 19

Publisher Egmont is lobbying the government to get 'statutory storytime' into the national curriculum. The campaign is supported by former children's laureate Michael Morpurgo.

According to research it has carried out with Nielsen, the publisher found that just 37% of six to 11-year-olds read for pleasure. Egmont's research also suggested that children whose parents read to them are more likely to enjoy reading themselves.

Of 2,000 eight to 13-year-olds who are read to by their parents less than weekly, just 28% of those children choose to read daily themselves. Among children who are read to by their parents every day, 74% choose to read for pleasure daily.

Egmont is, therefore, asking the Government to incorporate storytime into the school day, in addition to teaching reading as a subject - which children are more likely to view as 'work', said the publisher.

Morpugo, a former primary school teacher, is supporting the campaign. He said: "Storytime has been a passion of mine, ever since my teaching days. I've seen how it transforms children."

According to the Egmont / Nielsen research, just 14% of eight to 13-year-olds are read to by their parents every day. In addition, just 22% of parents of children aged eight to nine thought their children had a daily storytime at school, leaving thousands of children with no opportunity to hear stories.

Egmont consumer insight director Alison David said: "Many parents tend to stop reading to their children around the age of eight. There's this misapprehension that if your child can read then they'll choose to read for pleasure which is absolutely not so. Children who read for pleasure just do better in life. They achieve more in school, they have a better sense of wellbeing, their attainment is higher. It impacts on everything."

A study of 120 children at St Joseph's Catholic Academy in Stoke on Trent showed if children are read to in school for 20 minutes a day without agenda, their reading comprehension also increases.

David added: "There's an absolute crisis in children's reading but there's a very simple and very low-cost solution. It's not going to cost a lot of money. Teachers need to read to children for 20 minutes everyday, that's all, and their minds will be transformed. We feel so strongly that we want to lobby government to do something about it."

Egmont is asking supporters to sign their government petition, write to their MP and tweet using #statutorystorytime.

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