Monday, May 25, 2015

"Unfair" Bedtime Stories?

A philosopher and professor at University of Warwick in England has made a suggestion that should make every children's librarian sick to their stomach.  The professor, Adam Swift, suggests that reading to children before bedtimes gives an unfair advantage to children from supportive homes to achieve in their academic endeavors.  Children are not read to at night, don't fare as well.  This should be a celebration of family bonding.  Not only that but it should be encouraged world wide.  This is exactly what librarians have been advocating for decades.  Read to your child.  It is sincerely hoped that this professor is being misquoted and that there is not need to be alarmed.  However, there is a way of turning this thought around to be advantageous for all children.

Since Professor Swift correctly states that reading to children at bedtime is a good thing, the best response would be to promote this activity to every family.  PSA announcements, reminders to parents at schools, and perhaps even establishing a volunteer effort to read to children who don't have the luxury of someone at home to read to them.   These are just a few ideas but surely some of them could work to give every child an opportunity to be read to.

Additionally, librarians should continue advocating for reading to children (at any time of the day) so as to prove and persuade that this is a better alternative than not reading to children.  Which is what Professor Swift seems to be suggesting in his theory of "fairness".    It is true that it is almost impossible to be sure that every child is read to but librarians can continue to remind parents, and even neighbors, that reading to one child is better than not reaching out to any child.

Last but not least, here is a personal challenge to Professor Swift, should he really believe that reading to children is unfair.   Do your part in making things equal for all children.  Read to a child in your family, or your neighborhood or go to a local library in England and discover if there are programs just for the purpose of filling in the void for children who have no one to read to them.  If England's libraries do not have these programs then perhaps it is time that they begin.

Post a Comment