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Only 23% of parents read daily with their children in Abu Dhabi, reveals survey

A survey conducted by Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge (ADEK) revealed that only 23 per cent of parents read daily with their children.

In the Abu Dhabi Parent Survey, ADEK asked parents if they were helping their children, especially those aged below eight years of age, develop literacy skills and improve their academic performance by reading with them.

Out of 58,644 parents, including 31,173 (both citizens and residents) with children below the age of eight, 53 per cent of respondents believed that academic performance is essential for their children’s development. However, only 23 per cent read daily with their children, 31 per cent do so occasionally and 10 per cent have never read at all.

Urging parents to read with their children, Dana Alyazeedi, Event Experience Manager, ADEK, said: “Reading to your child – at any age – will boost their brain development and has many advantages. Due to the learning potential, the effects of reading on child development are vast; that is why we must ensure reading is a key part of children’s daily routine. All it takes are a few books, motivation and a little time.”

Alyazeedi noted that according to international research, children who read regularly would significantly outperform their peers in terms of cognitive experiences and academic performance.

“Extensive research shows that reading only has a positive impact on a child’s development and education. Students who read regularly gain a 14.4 per cent advantage in vocabulary and literacy and a 9.9 per cent advantage in math. That is just one quick example of reading benefits,” she told Khaleej Times.

Twenty-six per cent of survey participants were citizens, and the remaining 74 per cent were residents.

“Raising a reader starts at birth, and parents play the most critical role in this context. Parents can find out more facts and information on reading as well as the reading development stages for children,” Alyazeedi pointed out.

ADEK recently launched a Parent’s Guide to Raising an Avid Reader, which provides parents with many tips and tools to encourage their children to read and adopt reading as a way of life.

“Parents can download the guide through our website,” Alyazeedi added.

Also, during the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair, ADEK offered students a new perspective on reading, with innovative, interactive experiences that helped them explore their passion for books. In March, ADEK celebrated UAE Reading Month with the ‘Abu Dhabi Reads’ programme, which included a series of pop-ups at key locations in the capital and promoted reading culture among more than 30,000 visitors.

Six stages of reading development

A typical child’s reading development process is outlined in six stages, and parents play an essential role in the first three stages when children are below eight years of age. These initial stages are critical in developing good reading habits for the future.

Stage 1: Pre-reading (children aged six months to six years)

Children often “pretend” to read, they can recognise signs and stories previously read to them and can point them out, demonstrating their understanding. They master this stage by being read to by a parent, guardian, or sibling and through interactive, dialogic reading.

Stage 2: Initial reading and decoding (children in Grade 1 and the beginning of Grade 2)

In this stage, children develop the skills necessary to interpret the relationships between written words and spoken words. At the end of this stage, children can usually read up to 600 different words.

Stage 3: Confirmation and fluency (seven-eight years old)

Children can read familiar texts by using basic decoding, sight vocabulary and context clues. They can develop and acquire new reading skills through advanced reading instruction and by listening to others read at higher levels.

Stage 4: Reading for new learning (nine-13 years old)

In this stage, children read to gain ideas and knowledge and experience new feelings and attitudes as a result of what they read.

Stage 5: Multiple viewpoints (15-17 years old)

Children in this stage demonstrate reading skills in a broad range of subjects with a variety of different viewpoints.

Stage 6: Construction and reconstruction (18+ years old)

At this stage, individuals read for their own purpose, gain knowledge and integrate new knowledge with prior experiences. They can read quickly and efficiently.

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