Half of kids ages 6-17 (51%) are currently reading a book for fun

scholastic_reading

Image credit: Scholastic

There are often debates in the library world about whether or not the younger generation is reading enough, and how much television, computers, and e-devices actually compete for their attention. Scholastic’s Fall 2014 study examines this question, among others, by actually asking kids themselves about reading habits and preferences.

The results, culled from a nationally representative sample of 2,558 parents and children, are mixed. The percentage of kids who read has stayed steady since 2010, but there has been a 6% decline in frequent readers (those who read for fun 5-7 days a week).

The survey found that half of the kids age 6-17 (51%) self-reported that they were currently reading a book for pleasure, and another 20% had just finished one. After the age of 8, however, the study found that there is a sharp decline in the number of children who read frequently. Half of the children surveyed of that same age group (52%) also responded that independent reading was one of their favorite parts of the school day or wished that their school allowed them to read independently more often. Nine out of 10 kids (91%) said that their favorite books were ones they had personally picked out.

Since 2010, the percentage of kids who have read e-books has risen steadily, from a quarter to almost two-thirds (25% to 61%). Despite this trend, 65% (up 5% from 2012) also think that even with the prevalence of e-books, print books will always be desirable.

Finally, librarians rejoice – out of 13 different responses, browsing at the library was the third most popular way for parents to provide their children with access to leisure reading material, behind only book fairs and home libraries. It’s clear that reading is still a popular and important childhood activity, although as kids get older, competing interests and distractions tend to reduce the frequency and volume of extracurricular reading.

Note: This post is part of our series, “The Weekly Number.” In this series, we highlight statistics that help tell the story of the 21st-century library.

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