New research released by BookTrust, the UK’s largest children’s reading charity, shows that many parents worry that they and their families are not spending enough quality time together and are instead living in ‘bubbles’ under the same roof. Not surprisingly this is mainly due to technology – in particular social media – the increased use of which means we are spending more time plugged in to our own online worlds, and less time interacting and doing things together as a family.

In an attempt to combat this, the BookTrust has launched a new campaign, Time to Read, asking families to ditch their devices and start reading together instead. As Diana Gerald, BookTrust chief executive explains: “Social media, technology in general, and school homework are all reasons that parents are spending less time interacting with their children than they would like to, but also, for many, modern life is extraordinarily busy and we all just want to switch off, by switching on.”

Social media, technology, and school homework are all reasons that parents are spending less time interacting with their children than they would like to

“After a long day, it’s so tempting to come home, sit down and switch off by putting the TV on, or being on our devices,” she adds. “Some of us take work home with us as well, which doesn’t help. While a little bit of ‘bubble time’ is fine, when families find it hard to connect because they are constantly apart from each other due to the fact that they are in their own worlds, on their own devices, even when they’re in the same room, that’s not great.”

Reading together is the perfect antidote to all this. As most of us know, there are many benefits to a child’s emotional health and wellbeing from shared reading – beyond the obvious academic payoff – and through Time to Read, the BookTrust want to remind parents of this.

“Children who enjoy reading do better in life in so many ways – in a pure academic sense it means children get ahead, don’t avoid subjects that have too many books to read, and have much better vocabulary and comprehension,” Gerald tells us. “But it’s so much more than that. Readers have better imaginations, more empathy, more of a sense of identity, and more emotional resilience. And of course it’s brilliant for parents too,” she adds. “Reading together is a shared experience that cannot be replaced. It’s heaps of fun and you can really bond with your child over the characters and storyline within a book.”

Given the fact that the research showed that parents spend an average of 15 minutes a day reading to their children, while in contrast spend an average of 26 minutes per day Wilfing – surfing the web for no particular reason – this is an important campaign.

For more check out the BookTrust website will where you will find booklists for reluctant readers alongside tips around how to get your child reading.

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