Wednesday, June 11, 2008

2008 Kids & Family Reading Report

Today, Scholastic released the 2008 Kids and Family Reading Report conducted by Yankelovich and based on interviews with 1,002 respondents (501 children ages five to 17 and a parent or guardian for each). It explored kids’ attitudes toward reading, as well as the roles that technology, parental input and the Harry Potter books play in their reading habits.

With reports of the decline of reading in children, especially after the age of 8, considered by many to be due at least in part to the increase in use of the Internet, this report brings welcomed findings.

Publisher's Weekly has an article with a nice summary of the study, some of which I have included below:

  • The study found that a majority of children (68%) think it is “extremely” or “very” important to read for pleasure, and “like” or “love” doing so. However, that number decreases with age: 82% percent of children ages five to eight “like” or “love” reading, compared to 55% for children ages 15 to 17
  • 89% of kids say:“My favorite books are the ones I picked out myself.”
  • 75% of kids age 5-17 agree with the statement, “No matter what I can do online, I’ll always want to read books printed on paper.”
  • 62% of kids surveyed say they prefer to read books printed on paper rather than on a computer or a handheld device.
  • Boys outnumbered girls by 10% in all age categories in stating that they had trouble finding enjoyable books.
  • Two in three children believe that within the next 10 years, most books which are read for fun will be read digitally – either on a computer or on another kind of electronic device.
  • Parents are a key source of book suggestions for their children but nearly half say they have a hard time finding information about books their child would enjoy reading, and especially parents of teens age 15-17 (62%).
  • As to the influence of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, of the children who had read the books, almost three-quarters said the series had made them interested in reading other books. Some, however, would be happy simply to have more Harry in their lives: 31% of children don’t believe the series is over.

The study also found that more children ages eight and up spend time online than read for pleasure on a daily basis. However, On Our Minds at Scholastic has an interesting analysis, "High frequency Internet users are more likely than lower frequency Internet users to read a book for fun every day. Almost twice as likely, actually." The study shows that almost 2/3 of kids are actually extending their reading experience online:

*37% of kids use the Internet to look for books in similar series

*27% go to book and authors' websites

*18% go to websites with blogs about books or by authors

*16% are posting on chatrooms and messageboards about the books they read

In the Publisher's Weekly article, Heather Carter, director of corporate research at Scholastic stated, “That suggests that parents and teachers can tap into kids’ interest in going online to spark a greater interest in reading books.”

Thansks to Educating Alice for the link.

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