Only one third of Scottish parents read to children every day

Parents who were not read to as children themselves are less likely to read to their offspring.
Parents who were not read to as children themselves are less likely to read to their offspring.
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Under a third of Scottish parents read to their children every day, a study has revealed.

This drops to just 15 per cent for those that were never read to by their own parents or carers as a child, according to a report from the Scottish Book Trust.

This comes as the Scottish Book Trust launched a new fundraising campaign to provide crucial support to vulnerable families and help fight the effects of living in poverty through reading and books.

Marc Lambert, chief executive of the Scottish Book Trust, which is celebrating its 21st year, said: “Reading and writing are fundamental life skills and without these we simply cannot break the poverty cycle. Books are so much more than a story. The benefits of reading for pleasure can significantly alleviate many of the effects of living in poverty, but those living in deprivation or difficult circumstances are far less likely to have access to books or opportunities to read and be read to.

“As poverty in Scotland continues to increase, we need vital support to reach more vulnerable adults, children and families to help improve their life chances.”

The research also shows a direct, positive link between reading and mental well-being. A total of 83 per cent of respondents agreed that reading reduces symptoms of stress and anxiety, increasing to 94 per cent when reading daily, while nine in ten Scots say reading for pleasure helps them to switch off. Almost two thirds of respondents agreed that reading helps improve family bonding, which increases to 71 per cent for respondents that were read to regularly as a child.

The charity’s patron, crime writer Val McDermid, said: “I'm a writer because I started out as a reader, and I'm still a reader today. Reading opens the door to imagination: it's the first step on the road to change, not only for yourself but for the world around you. AtScottish Book Trust, we believe everybody should have access to the possibilities of books; to that imagination and that possibility for change."

The campaign, Scottish Book Trust 21, is appealing for regular donors to give £21 per month, which could bring books to life for children in care, support families living in challenging social circumstances and reduce social isolation through sharing stories.

To find out more on how to support the charity, visit