Boys read if Dad does

A study has shown that fathers can raise boys' interest in reading simply by setting a good example and reading more themselves.

A study by Killian Mullan, a research associate at the Social Policy Research Centre at UNSW shows in two-parent families the boys who read the most have fathers who also like to read a lot. And the girls who read the most have mothers who read.

In lone-mother families, boys and girls are equally influenced by their mothers' love of reading.

But parents have to devote at least 50 minutes a day to a book, newspaper or magazine to have any influence on their children's reading habits. And they have to read where their children can see them.

The research is based on time-use diaries on a typical day of two-parent and lone-mother families in Britain.

However, very few parents read so much and only 17 per cent of the boys and 26 per cent of the girls read anything on the day examined, homework excluded.

Dr Mullan will present his findings at the International Association for Time Use Research conference in Sydney starting today.

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