Read and thrive: Here’s why parents agree books are the key to raising a more creative child

NEW YORK — More than half (55%) of parents foresee their child having a career in a creative field. A recent survey of 2,000 parents with school-age kids finds seven in 10 (71%) parents think their child is more creative than they were at their age — and books may be the driving force. Half of parents purchase books for their child at least once a month.

When it comes to books, it seems father knows best. Men are more likely than women to buy their kids books once or a few times a month (54% vs. 44%). The average child has about 26 books, 21 of which are their own choosing. Only six percent of the average kid’s book collection is made up of required reading for school.

Sixty-two percent of kids have their own bookshelf, and nearly half of it (48%) is full. However, there may be more to add to that soon, as three in four (76%) parents say their kid is eagerly anticipating filling their shelf with new books.

Sharing the gift of reading

Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of ThriftBooks, the survey also found parents were most likely to enjoy sharing their favorite books with their kids (58%), more so than TV shows (50%), toys (47%), and places or experiences (44%).

Gen Z parents in particular enjoy showing their kids their beloved books from their childhood, more than any other age group (76%). Overall, parents and kids both enjoy reading often — 65 percent of parents do so, and the same amount think their kids do as well.

To that end, the average parent and child each devote about five hours a week to reading. As for favorite genres, about a third (32%) of parents say their kids enjoy adventure books. Other popular picks include fantasy (27%), fiction (27%), and mystery stories (27%).

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Any genre can be ‘a teaching tool’

With 69 percent of parents saying their child has a lot of creative energy, there’s always a search for additional outlets to put it to use. Thirty-seven percent of kids channel their artistic talents by drawing, while 32 percent write.

“There are many ways both parents and educators can continue to foster a child’s love of reading through the years, from reading out loud together to having kids bring their favorite stories to life by drawing them or acting them out,” says a spokesperson for ThriftBooks.

Stocking their kids’ shelves with new favorites can also keep the momentum going. Fifty-four percent buy educational books or workbooks for their child, with 48 percent of them doing so year-round. More than a quarter (26%) of parents also want to encourage their child to read more informational books.

Regardless of genre, parents’ top three sources for finding new book recommendations for their kid are friends and family (32%), book sites like Goodreads and Book Riot (30%), and online searches (28%). The poll also asked kids whether their love of reading inspires them to become an author when they’re older and found 68 percent answered in the affirmative.

“Any genre of books can easily become a teaching tool. By taking kids’ reading preferences into account, educators can create a robust library in and outside the classroom to turn students from readers into book lovers,” the spokesperson adds.

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