Sunday 26 May 2019

Author: Parents not reading to children missing out

Man Booker prize-winning author Anne Enright
Man Booker prize-winning author Anne Enright

Mark O'Regan

Man Booker prize winner Anne Enright has said parents are missing out on quality "bonding time" with their child by not reading them bedtime stories.

She also said allowing children excessive time watching TV - and surfing the web - could have a detrimental impact on their development.

"It's so important for parents to encourage their children off the screen, and get them to take a book to bed with them. It's great for bonding," said the best-selling author, who is also one of Ireland's most lauded novelists.

"It doesn't necessarily turn them into readers in my experience, but it's great for their brain in every sense, and brilliant for connecting with your child," she told the Irish Independent.

"It's all about nurture. There should be no screens in the bedroom. These are the really small things we can do to establish a real relationship between children and books. It's important for parents to get their child away from the screen and a take a book to bed with them, rather than watching TV and computer screens."

Asked if she was impressed by the next generation of writers coming on stream, she said the calibre of literature has never been better.

"The last five years have been amazing because there's such an energy and urgency about the first books coming out now.

"It's like the early '80s all over again."

However, she warned there are rapidly changing attitudes to institutions such as the local bookshop and library. She also pointed out that over the last 20 years in America, reading has become "almost a niche activity."

"Only between five and 10 million people are really interested in it. I'll be very interested to see how things pan out in Ireland in the future."

Irish Independent

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