Survey shows number of kids reading for fun is decreasing

Fewer children are reading books for fun, according to just-released results of a survey sponsored by Scholastic, an American publisher of children’s books.Young girl reading a book

According to the survey of 1000 children aged 6 to 17, 31 percent said they read for fun in 2014, down from 37 percent in 2010.

Some of the other findings include:

    • Children aged 6 to 11 who were read to aloud, and who had their time online restricted, correlated with those children who read more.
    • Having time to read on their own at school correlated with more reading by children aged 12 to 17.
    • 17 percent of all children surveyed said they have time to read independently at school, with the percentage dropping as the grade of the children increased.
    • Children aged 6–11 who identified themselves as frequent readers read about 43 books per year. Infrequent readers aged 6 to 11 read about 21 books annually.
    • Among children aged 12–17, frequent readers reported reading about 40 books annually while infrequent readers said they read only about 5 books annually.
  • The study says there are three predictors of which children will become frequent readers:
      o Children who say they “really enjoy reading.”
      o Children who believe that reading for fun is important, and
      o Children who have parents who read frequently.

To read the report on the survey, go to http://www.scholastic.com/readingreport/downloads.htm.

Are you surprised by this survey’s findings? I’m not surprised, but I am concerned. In the past week I spent a great deal of time with more than 100 teenagers. Almost all had smart phones and ear buds which they used nonstop, even during classes. Many balked at reading passages in their text book. Some said they could not find information buried within paragraphs.

As electronic equipment grows more dominant in our lives, will the ability and willingness of our children to read anything more complicated than a text message decline as well? –Mrs. K

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