One in seven parents don’t read to their 7-9 year-old for more than 15 minutes per week

10th Feb 2020

Claim

One in seven children aged seven to nine gets less than 15 minutes a week reading time with their parents.

Conclusion

A survey found one in seven parents reads to their child aged seven to nine for less than 15 minutes per week. That doesn’t necessarily mean the child’s other parent isn’t reading to them as well.

“ONE in seven young children gets less than 15 minutes a week of reading time with parents, research shows.”

The Sun, 4 February 2020

This week the Sun reported that one in seven young children gets less than 15 minutes a week reading time with their parents. This isn’t strictly true.

The report was based off findings published by the reading charity BookTrust who commissioned Opinium Research to survey parents in January 2020.

One of the questions asked to parents of children aged seven to nine was:

'How much time do you spend reading to or with your child in an average week for fun? Please do not include any reading that is set by school'.

They found that 14% read with their child for less than 15 minutes a week.

The problem with the press release from the BookTrust and subsequent reporting is that finding that one in seven parents doesn’t read to their child for more than 15 minutes per week doesn’t mean that one in seven children aren’t being read to for 15 minutes a week.

Most children have two parents or carers in the home. We don’t know the numbers specifically for children aged seven to nine but we know that of the eight million families with dependent children, around 1.8 million are single-parent families. 

And so it’s likely that parents who read to their child for less than 15 minutes per week are living in a household where there is another parent. And, as we don’t know how much that parent is reading to their child, we can’t say from this research how many children are being read to for less than 15 minutes a week, by either parent.

We’ve reached out to BookTrust and will update this if they get back to us.

We aim for our fact checks to be as accurate and up-to-date as possible. If you think we've made an error or missed some relevant information, please email team@fullfact.org.

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