Just one in 30 fathers has time for a bedtime story

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MOST fathers are too busy to read stories to their children, a survey has found.

Just 3 per cent of those questioned said they easily found the opportunity, with the rest struggling to read to their children because of time pressures and busy lifestyles.

Eighty-seven per cent blamed work commitments, and a third said they were too tired. In contrast, nine out of ten mothers questioned in the survey still managed to read their children stories.

Marion Bourbouze, from the Scottish Book Trust, said that it was important for fathers to read to their children, particularly their sons, to provide them with a role model.

The mother of three also thought it helped fathers bond with their children.

"My husband started reading from the start to our children when they were about a week old. At the very beginning, it can seem as though there is not much dads can do, because the mum is breastfeeding and that sort of thing. So reading is a really nice way they can spend time with the baby. It becomes a sort of ritual."

She added: "It can also add variety for the child. My husband enjoys reading books about space and astronomy, which I wouldn't normally choose."

Doug MacLeod, 34, from Glasgow, who has a three-year-old daughter, Esther, usually gets home from work at about 7pm and struggles to find the time to read to her before she goes to bed.

"It's a shame because you do feel as though it's for the benefit of the child," he said. "But the way we live our lives now, we pack our kids off to nursery, we go off to work, then you get home and have something to eat and, before you know it, the evening has gone."

The survey of 2,000 parents across the UK was to promote new children's television show Bookaboo, which aims to encourage parents and children to share a book.

TOP TEN

Top ten children's books:

1 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, C S Lewis

2 The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Eric Carle

3 Famous Five, Enid Blyton

4 Winnie the Pooh, A A Milne

5 The BFG, Roald Dahl

6 Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, J K Rowling

7 The Faraway Tree, Enid Blyton

8 The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame

9 Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll

10 The Gruffalo, Julia Donaldson

&#149 From a 2008 survey of 4,000 people by Booktrust.