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The Development of Children’s Cultural Practices in Quebec

(Le développement des pratiques culturelles chez les enfants)

September 11, 201311 September 2013

Arts education

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The most basic conclusion of this report from Quebec’s cultural observatory is that mothers who read tend to have children who read. The analysis is based on the Quebec Longitudinal Study of Child Development (QLSCD), a yearly survey of a representative sample of parents of children born in Quebec in 1997-1998.

The survey results show that “parental accompaniment is a major factor in the formation of the cultural, social, and sporting interests of children”. Parental activities that influence childhood reading include the mother’s reading activity before having a child and parents reading books to (and with) children at a young age.

The report examines differences in the cultural practices (especially reading activities) of girls and boys. In general, girls are more active in culture, while boys participate more in sports and play more video games. At all of the surveyed ages, a much higher percentage of Quebec girls than boys look at books or read on a daily basis. Similarly, many more girls than boys write or try to write on a daily basis. Part of the explanation for these gaps is that parents tend to read to (and with) girls more commonly than boys between four and six years of age. The report concludes that a lack of interest in reading has its roots in childhood behaviour and family environment.

What is not clear from the report is whether parental work activities have an influence on children’s reading behaviours or whether early childhood differences in reading and other activities have a relationship with school success. The report highlights these issues as areas for future research.

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