Parents as social influences encouraging book reading: Research directions for librarians’ literacy advocacy
School of Business and Law
Despite the competing roles that contemporary public and school librarians juggle, advocating for youth literacy remains a priority. Both school and public librarians can support parents by providing the most current research insights to inform their approach to supporting reading in the home. Quantitative survey data from the 997 young participants illuminate the relationships between reading frequency, gender and parental encouragement. Semi-structured interviews explore the kinds of parental encouragement children perceived, allowing for an exploratory investigation to yield novel findings. While encouragement is generally being focused on the children who need it, girls receive more encouragement to read than boys even though they typically read more frequently. Reading encouragement was perceived to be related to varying parental objectives, such as valuing literacy skills and learning benefits, screen respite, providing access, shared reading, and establishing expectations, with children cognizant of parental hypocrisy in relation to low modeling. As literacy advocates, librarians can communicate that boys need to receive greater parental encouragement, encouragement may need to be high-quality to be effective, and parental modeling remains important.