A survey has revealed fewer dads are spending time reading to their children at night but for Mount Maunganui dad Josh Eady, it is a family tradition.

The survey, released by Paper Plus, studied the reading habits of New Zealand parents and found just 6 per cent of households named fathers as the main reader of stories to children.

It also found that while three out of four dads wanted to read more to their children, they said a lack of time was the main reason they didn't.

But at the Eady household, storytime with dad is a nightly ritual.


Mr Eady and his wife have two children, Sabine, 8, and Theodora, 2. He reads to the girls every night, except in some recent cases where Sabine has begun reading herself.

"She's a great little reader," he said.

Mr Eady has fond memories of being read to as a child by his father. So when he grew up and had his own children, it was a natural progression.

"I guess I've always done it, and I quite like reading stories. It's becoming a little tradition," Mr Eady said.

"We just read a range of books that are light-hearted and full of humour."

A favourite at the moment is My Big Brother Boris, about a little crocodile and its big brother.

Mr Eady admits he enjoys getting animated when telling stories.

"They love it. My 8-year-old, sometimes she goes in and reads stories [to Theodora]."


Professor of literacy education at Massey University Tom Nicholson said books, as well as dads as reading role models, were hugely important to a child's development.

"Having a male role model when it comes to reading can have a really positive effect on a child. When fathers take an active role in their child's reading and education, he or she is more likely to do better at school," Professor Nicholson said.

"Boys tend to dislike reading much more than girls and they over-represent in remedial reading classes - so dads reading to boys especially is a really important message to get out there to New Zealand fathers."

Stuart Gunn, owner of Paper Plus Te Puke, said boys and girls tended to have different reading needs.

"Boys need to be able to 'turn the pages' a lot faster than girls. It's a physical achievement.

"To parents of reluctant readers I suggest to them what I did with my kids and that was to read one page myself and then get them to read the next page and then back to me me and so on. Or leave them hanging at an exciting point in the book with an excuse that you have to do something else. Just watch ... they will have to read on to see what happens".