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Australian Kids & Family Reading Report

Reading Aloud at Home

Key Findings

  • Across ages, the overwhelming majority of kids (86%) say they love(d) being read books aloud at home or like(d) it a lot—the main reason being because it is a special time with parents.
  • More than half of children aged 0–5 (57%) are read aloud to at home 5–7 days a week. This frequency declines to four in 10 kids aged 6–8 (41%), and continues to decrease with age.
  • Of those children aged 6–8 whose parents no longer read books aloud at home, half (51%) did not want their parents to stop.

Spotlight: Reading with Kids from Birth

  • Nearly six in 10 parents of children aged 0–5 (59%) say they started reading books aloud to their child before age one, while only 26% say they began before the age of three months.
  • Just under half of parents with children aged 0–5 (47%) received the advice that children should be read aloud to from birth, most commonly from friends and family; however, only one-quarter of parents (26%) from the lowest-income households received this advice vs. 65% in the highest-income households.

Across all ages, the overwhelming majority of children (86%) say they love(d) being read books aloud at home or like(d) it a lot.

Reasons Kids Enjoy(ed) Being Read Books Aloud at Home
Base: Children Aged 6–17 Who Are or Were Read Books Aloud at Home

 

The top reason children say they enjoy being read aloud to is because it’s a special time with their parents.

Reasons Children Enjoy(ed) Being Read Aloud to at Home
Base: Children Aged 6–17 Who Are or Were Read Books Aloud
at Home and Love(d) it or Like(d) it a Lot

 

Overall, more than eight in 10 parents (84%) say their children are read books aloud at home before age 6, mainly because they wanted their child to enjoy books.

Percentage of Parents Who Say Their Child Was Read Books Aloud at Home Before Age 6 and Reasons Reading Aloud Started
Base: Parents of Children Aged 0–17

 

One in five parents of children aged 6–17 (20%) stopped reading aloud to their child before age 9, most often citing reasons related to their child being able to read independently.

Percentage of Parents Who Say Their Child Stopped Being Read Books Aloud at Home Before Age 9 and Reasons Reading Aloud Stopped
Base: Parents of Children Aged 6–17

 

Among children aged 6–11 whose parents no longer read books aloud at home, more than one-third (36%) did not want their parents to stop.

Percentage of Children Who Say They “Wanted Reading Aloud to Continue”
Base: Children Aged 6–11 Who Were Read Books Aloud at Home

 

More than half of children aged 0–5 (57%) are read aloud to at home 5–7 days a week. This declines to four in 10 kids aged 6–8 (41%), and one in 10 kids aged 9–11 (10%).

Frequency with Which Parents Say Their Child is Read Books Aloud at Home
Base: Parents of Children Aged 0–17

SPOTLIGHT:
Reading with Kids from Birth

Nearly six in 10 parents of children aged 0–5 (59%) say they started reading aloud to their child before age one, while only 26% say they began under the age of three months.

Age of Child When Reading Books Aloud at Home Started
Base: Parents of Children Aged 0–5

Just under half of parents with children aged 0–5 (47%) received the advice that children should be read aloud to from birth; yet only about one-quarter of parents from the lowest-income households (26%) received this advice.

Percentage of Parents Who Received Advice That Children
Should Be Read Aloud to from Birth
Base: Parents of Children Aged 0–5

Among parents who received advice that children should be read aloud to from birth, the most common source of this advice was friends and family.

Sources of Advice That Children Should Be Read Aloud to from Birth
Base: Parents of Children Aged 0–5 Who Received This Advice When Their Child Was a Baby

Parents say that talking in general and reading books aloud to children are top ways to develop a child’s language skills.

Percentage of Parents Who Say Each Is Extremely/Very Important in Developing Child’s Language Skills
Base: Parents of Children Aged 0–5

Activities like playing video games, watching videos on YouTube or using digital devices and apps are deemed far less important in developing language skills.

Percentage of Parents Who Say Each Is Extremely/Very Important in Developing Child’s Language Skills
Base: Parents of Children Aged 0–5

Considering the activities cited by parents as the most important to develop their child’s language skills, in many cases these experiences are not happening 5–7 days a week.

Comparison of Parents’ Views on the Importance of Activities to Develop Child’s Language Skills and Whether Each Activity Happens at Home 5–7 Days a Week
Base: Parents of Children Aged 0–5

Parents of children aged 0–5 say developing vocabulary and language skills and using their imagination are the top benefits they want their kids to gain from reading books for fun.

Percentage of Parents Who Say Each is a Top Benefit They Want Their Child to Get From Reading Books for Fun
Base: Parents of Children Aged 0–5



SPOTLIGHT:
Reading with Kids from Birth

“I felt comfortable and relaxed when mum or dad read to me. I could close my eyes and imagine I was there. I felt very close to them.”
—13-year-old boy,
Victoria – Metro
“When she was little,
I used to have a pile of about 20 books I would read to her at bedtime.
It was really lovely to sit cuddled up and read together.”

—Mother, 15-year-old girl,
South Australia – Metro
“I love reading with
my mum—it’s our time.
But when I read by
myself, I like
learning new things,
laughing, guessing
what is going to
happen next and
using my imagination.”

—7-year-old girl,
New South Wales – Metro
“When I was little, my mum and I would climb into bed and she would read to me. Sometimes I’d fall asleep, but we’d usually end up talking about something from the book. We haven’t done that for a while.”
—14-year-old girl,
Victoria – Regional
“It’s a good way to build imagination and let your child just be a child and enjoy a book for what it is.”
—Mother, 2-year-old girl, Queensland – Metro
“Reading is important later in school and life; the sooner he appreciates
the benefits the better.”

—Father, 5-year-old boy,
Victoria – Metro
“Reading aloud is a good bonding experience as well as learning experience.”
—Mother, 2-year-old girl, Queensland – Metro
“I love that my daughter enjoys listening to stories, and pointing at things we talk about or things she likes me to talk about.
I love that she is able to interact with me through reading and illustrations.”

—Mother, 1-year-old girl,
Victoria – Metro
“It helped me establish which words were which and what they meant. My mum would explain the meaning of a word if I didn’t know it and it helped me develop a great vocabulary.”
—12-year-old girl,
Victoria – Metro
“I think it is good for him to be taken away from everyday life and to use his imagination to enter the world and emotions of the character. He also needs to realise fun can involve lots of things, not just playing games or using the iPad.”
—Mother, 5-year-old boy,
South Australia – Metro
“He likes the bedtime story routine. We often miss a couple of days due to normal things that come up, but I try at least 5–6 days a week to have myself or my eldest son read to the young ones.”
—Mother, 5-year-old boy, Queensland – Metro
“Reading expands his mind, vocabulary and concept of what is in the world around the house and in the wider world.”
—Mother, 4-year-old boy,
Victoria – Metro