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Bord Gáis Energy Little Readers is back!


More than half of Irish parents begin reading to their children before they are six months old

Key findings:

  • Over half of Irish parents (57%) begin reading to their children before they are six months old with a further 30% starting before their first birthday
  • A fifth of 0-5 year olds have over 30 books in their collection while 23% admit to having more than 50
  • Two in three parents read to their under-fives daily with 63% saying bedtime is the favourite time of day for a story
  • The classics remain popular with Enid Blyton (41%) and Roald Dahl (40%) topping the list of favourite children’s authors
  • Morgan Freeman (27%) is the celebrity Irish mums would like to read them a bedtime story.

Calling parents of 0-5 year olds; the Bord Gáis Energy Little Readers campaign is back! Now in itssecond year, Little Readers is designed to inspire a love of reading in young children and parents are invited to register for a free book through the Bord Gáis Energy Book Club website.

To mark the launch of Little Readers, Bord Gáis Energy and surveyed Irish mums and dads about their children’s reading habits.

Irish parents are already sharing their love of reading with their children with over half (57%) starting story time before they are six months old, and a further 30% before their first birthday.

88% of parents said their children really enjoy reading and story time, with only a small number saying they prefer to watch TV (7%). The survey also found a fifth of 0-5 year olds have over 30 books in their collection while 23% admit to having more than 50.

Bord Gáis Energy is a long-time supporter and promoter of books and reading and believes that a shared love of reading between a parent and a child is invaluable. For every Little Readers registration, Bord Gáis Energy will donate €1 to the Irish Premature Babies Association to help raise much needed funds for the vital work they carry out across the country. Last year, the company donated over €2,000 to the charity through the campaign.

Laureate na nÓg Eoin Colfer said: “Quite apart from being a magical time that no child ever forgets, which is reward enough in itself, reading to young children fosters a love of story which will draw them towards books like busy bees to honey. Once they find the books, the young readers grow someone took the time to read to them for a few minutes in the evening. A small investment but a great return.”

Irene Gowing, Communications Manager with Bord Gáis Energy said, “It’s so important that reading is encouraged from a young age and it’s great to see from the survey that many Irish parents are spending quality time reading with their kids. Due to the phenomenal success of the Little Readers programme in 2014, we are delighted to bring it back for a second year. It has been incredibly well received by mums and dads all over Ireland and we hope that this year will be no different.”

Story time

It’s obvious that time is precious, especially for busy parents as almost 9 out of 10 parents (88%) surveyed said they wish they had more time each day to spend reading to their children. Household duties (44%) were named as the main reason they don’t have more free time to read to their kids. 61% of parents surveyed said their child has access to an iPad or tablet and it’s mainly used for watching cartoons. However, over a quarter of little readers (27%) are embracing technology and using electronic devices to read their favourite stories.

Our favourites

Reading is way of sharing our own childhood memories with our children with two thirds of parents (64%) saying they enjoy reading their childhood favourites with their own children; Enid Blyton (41%) and Roald Dahl (40%) topped the poll as our favourite authors. When asked which celebrity parents would most like to have read them a bedtime story, Morgan Freeman came out on top (27%) followed by Liam Neeson (17%) and Julie Andrews (15%).

Little Readers

Little Readers books are free for all children under 5 whose parents are members of the Bord Gáis Energy Book Club. To register for the Book Club and apply for your free Little Readers book, simply visit

For information please contact:
Sarah Doyle | Anna McCarthyy | 01 649 6486