Over half of British children (59%) would choose being read a story by their parents over an extra 30 minutes screen time, according to a new study into family reading habits released today.
The research was commissioned by the UK’s largest airline easyJet to mark the launch of a European-wide initiative to make it easy for parents and children to make reading part of their holiday this summer – 300 ‘Flybraries’ hit the runways today stocked with over 60,000 children’s books in seven languages ready for children and parents to pick up, read and then leave behind for the next passenger.
The new study, which polled 2,000 British parents with children aged 6 – 12, reveals that 90% of children enjoy being read aloud to by their mum or dad, with a similar percentage of parents (91%) rating sharing a book with their child as a special time they really enjoy.
Child respondents revealed that they would be happy to swap 30 minutes watching TV or a movie (29%), playing on the Xbox or other gaming device (27%) or going to bed earlier (21%).
The majority of the parents surveyed (80%) revealed that holidays offer an opportunity for more family time, with 64% planning to share stories with their children this summer. Most parents believe that reading, whether fiction or non-fiction, is a good way for their child to understand the world (86%). Meanwhile nine in ten (89%) report that reading books helps fuel their child’s imagination and creativity.
easyJet is teaming up with leading publisher HarperCollins Children’s Books to put books in the passenger seat-pockets of flights departing the UK. The featured titles include; Dinosaur Juniors by Rob Biddulph, Mog and Bunny by Judith Kerr, Paddington Abroad by Michael Bond, The Boy Who Could Do What He Liked by David Baddiel, and Geek Girl by Holly Smale.
Katie Piper and author Rob Biddulph launched easyJet’s Flybraries initiative at London Luton Airport today with a special reading and book signing for young travellers. The airport is hosting a series of in terminal events over the course of the school holidays at a specially designed Flybrary reading area with story time and activities from HarperCollins Children’s Books’ most loved characters, giving passengers the chance to dive into a good book while they wait to board their flight.
Katie Piper, mum to Belle (age 5) and Penelope (age 18 months) said: “Holidays offer the perfect opportunity to make time for sharing stories with your little ones. I love it when Belle and I get stuck into a book together so when easyJet told me they were going to be providing Flybraries on tens of thousands of flights this summer, I was delighted to get involved. I hope that families across Europe will be entertained on board as they get hooked on a book together.”
Tina Milton, Director of Cabin Crew at easyJet said: “At easyJet, we are passionate about creating family friendly initiatives that make flying with us both fun and also easier for parents. And as the summer holidays provide the perfect opportunity for some well-earned family time, we hope that the millions of passengers who fly with us this summer enjoy sharing a story or two from our unique in-flight lending library.”
Rob Biddulph, author of the Dinosaur Juniors series and official illustrator of the annual World Book Day, said: “Flybraries is such a great idea! I have three daughters, and so I know from experience how excited children get when it’s holiday time. Keeping little ones calm, yet entertained, in a confined space can be really, really tricky. So, to me, it makes total sense to take advantage of the time you have together by sitting quietly and sharing a story. It’s actually a great opportunity for a child to enjoy some quality one-on-one time with a parent without too many distractions.”
Jonathan Douglas, Director of the National Literacy Trust said: “Reading books is a great way to widen horizons and set children on the path to a successful future. Parents play an important role in getting their children excited about reading and it’s great to see that over half of British parents plan to share stories with their children this summer. EasyJet’s Flybrary initiative is a fantastic way of helping thousands more children keep up their reading skills during the long break and giving families the chance to enjoy stories on holiday.”
London Luton Airport’s Head of Passenger Services, Clare Armstrong said: “We’re right behind this brilliant summer initiative by easyJet and were honoured to welcome Katie Piper to London Luton Airport (LLA) to launch this year’s Flybraries campaign and share a story with some of our younger passengers. There’s nothing like curling up with a good book, and we hope that parents and kids heading off to the many holiday destinations served by easyJet from LLA this summer will enjoy creating some special moments together as they share a story or enjoy some quiet time in one of the airport’s specially designed reading nooks.”
Not only does easyJet’s fleet of Flybraries enable children to read books onboard but when they land they can also download free samples of books at www.easyjet.com/en/flybraries.