February 25, 2013
The Author and the Duchess
by Nick Davies
The UK’s Telegraph reported last week that the somewhat unlikely duo of James Patterson and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall are teaming up for a literary campaign aimed at getting fathers to read to their children more. The project is called, fittingly enough, “Get Dads Reading,” and it’s being launched by Booktrust, the UK’s foremost literary charity.
The launch of this campaign comes on the heels of a survey conducted by market research consultancy Opinium, which surveyed about a thousand parents of children eleven and younger. The Telegraph outlines some of the findings, including that 43% of the mothers interviewed read to their children, compared to 26% of fathers; and that men tend to favor reading to daughters over sons. Booktrust says that these figures are a “major concern” because “a father’s involvement in their child’s early reading is proven to boost academic success and improve social and emotional wellbeing.”
Patterson and Camilla, one of Booktrust’s patrons, kicked off the campaign with a visit to a fathers’ reading group in Greenwich last week. Patterson has joined the “Dads Army,” a group of celebrity dads who support the cause, and says of the project:
If we can get children reading and enjoying books, we open up a whole world of possibility to them. I believe that dads have a huge role to play in encouraging their children to read. We need to give fathers the support they need in reading to their children. If I can help dads to understand their role in making books and reading more important in children’s lives, I’ll be a happy man.
In order to encourage more dads to sit down and read to their children, Get Dads Reading is offering resources on their website, such as tips for reading together, different ideas for encouraging younger and older kids to read, several lists of suggested books, links to other similar projects, and a pamphlet that answers a lot of frequently asked questions.
Nick Davies is a publicist at Melville House.