THE number of fathers encouraging their children to read has seen an "alarming" drop in recent years, according to new research.
The study by the National Literacy Trust shows one in three dads give no reading encouragement to their children at all - a rise of 30% in seven years.
In addition, a similar number are never seen with a book in their hands.
Jonathan Douglas, chief executive of the NLT, described the trend as "alarming", adding that fathers were too seduced by "the Xbox in the corner that gives you 15 TV channels at the flick of a switch" and new forms of technology.
"They want to do something that their children enjoy," he added, "but children's literature is extremely good and inventive, too."
The number of dads never seen reading (32.9%) is more than twice as high as mums (14.9%) and experts believe this could jeopardise children's chances of learning to become fluent readers.
The study, based on interviews with 21,000 eight to 16-year-olds, showed that the percentage of dads never seen reading with their children has grown steadily from 25.4% in 2005 to 32.9% in the latest survey.
The percentage of mums not reading increased slightly from 13.8% to 14.9%.
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