Fuse #8

Monday, March 20, 2006

Do we even do polls of this sort in America?

Just found a post from the British Telegraph that say that one in three children do not get a bedtime story read to them at night in the UK. One shudders when wondering what kind of stats you might end up with in the good old U.S. of A., no? Not read your kid a book before bed? Why not? I can understand it if you have to work awful hours or two jobs and are never around when your kid goes to bed, but could such cases account for the whopping statistic of one in three? Scary stuff, my friends.


At 8:47 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know, I don't read my six-year-old bedtime stories. I say, "Time for bed," and all four kids say, "Good night" and off they go.

But since I've read her three or four or twenty books during the afternoon and evening, I don't feel badly about it.

All four kids fall asleep with the lights on, surrounded by books--some from the 75 library books we've got checked out at any given time, some from the 2000+ books we own. You might fault me for allowing them to let the books fall onto the floor, I suppose.

Reading to kids at bedtime is overrated, IMO. It gives people the chance to say, "Oh, we read every night," when they're not doing much to foster a love of books during the other 23.75 hours of the day.

I'm not saying some people don't have rich experiences reading wonderful novels to their kids in the evenings--I know they do. But statistics like the one you cited can be misleading. Which parent is doing more to help their kids love books--me (apparently one of the evil 2 out of three who doesn't read bedtime stories) or the one who religiously zips through a Strawberry Shortcake 8x8 every night without fail but doesn't go to the library because it's too much bother?

At 10:04 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I too fall into this category. Books are all over the house, and the bedrooms - words, pictures and imagination are everywhere. And some nights we read, some we don't - but each day there is a lot of book time - whether it is reading or discussion of books. However, I also know as an educator, and as an educated person - we are the minority. The vast majority of white middle class parents are so busy running their children around, checking schedules and watching the clock that the lovely closeness of a shared book (whether at bedtime or another time) often gets overlooked. Living in a highly competitive community (and having had a year or so working in our local library) I know many parents who fly into libraries and book stores wildly seeking the current feature on the reading list - to get the assignment done! What love does this foster...and what example? And those famiies who are on the lower end of the socio-economic scale often are struggling in so many areas books and reading are not a high priority. Obviously, statistics can be manipulated to show all sorts of things but I think this one is probably more accurate than not - such a pity.

At 10:05 AM , Blogger fusenumber8 said...

I did point out that these stats don't reflect parents who work at night. By extension then these same parents could probably read during the day. Your point that the whole "reading at bedtime" idea is mostly a nostaligic one rather than a practical intill-a-love-of-reading technique is valid. Of course it is. But by and large many parents work during the day, no? And the only time they see their kids is at night, no? So reading to the kids before beddy-bye is probably more common than the times that you yourself read to the kids. Ipso facto, the stats may actually mean something. None of this is to say that your own style isn't as legitimate and undoubtedly more so. I'm just saying that this poll may reveal something and may not. I think Michele has some rather valid points as well.


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