A fifth of parents with primary school-aged children do not spend any time reading with them, new research has found.
And more than half (54 per cent) of parents who have children aged 5-11 spend less than an hour a week reading to them, according to a YouGov survey.
It also found that 57 per cent of parents use a tablet, mobile, TV or a film to distract their child, compared with only one in 10 of parents who give their child a book to read.
The survey, of 448 parents in the UK with primary school aged children, found that a third of parents believe their children do not read enough books.
Nearly two thirds (65 per cent) of parents said they set a good example with their own reading habits, whereas 29 per cent did not feel they did.
The survey – which was commissioned by bookseller Book People – follows the company’s launch of its Bedtime Story Competition, which challenges young authors aged 5-11 to create a picture book on the theme of friendship. The winner will become a published author.
Sarah Walden, buying and merchandising director at Book People Group, said: “The findings from the survey are both intriguing and alarming and show that as a nation we can certainly do more to encourage the next generation of readers and authors."
The UK was ranked 22nd for reading in the influential 2015 Pisa school rankings, behind countries such as Estonia, Slovenia, Poland and Australia.
Ms Walden added: “Electronic devices are always competing for everyone’s attention, but spending a couple hours a week reading with your children works out at less than 20 minutes a day and allows you to spend true quality time with them.”