Scholastic Study Shows Decline in Older Kids’ Reading Habits

July 1, 2006
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July 1 – July 6, 2006 Edition

Scholastic Study

Shows Decline in Older

KidsÂ’ Reading Habits

NEW YORK, NY/7/1/06—In a new national study released June 14, the time kids spend reading for fun declines sharply after age 8 and continues to drop off through the teen years. The study was conducted by Yankelovich, a leader in consumer trends tracking, and Scholastic, the global children’s publishing and media company.

While 40% of kids between the ages of 5-8 years old are high frequency readers (reading for fun every day), only 29% of kids ages 9-11 years old are high frequency readers and the percentage continues to decline through age 17. The Kids and Family Reading Report™, a national survey of children ages 5-17 and their parents, also found that parents can have a direct impact on their kids’ reading attitudes and behaviors, especially by reading more frequently themselves and by helping kids find books they like.

“Parents excel when it comes to introduces their very young children to beautiful picture book and bedtime stories, but when their kids start reading independently, parents need to become more, not less, involved,” stated Lisa Holton, president Scholastic Book Fairs and Trade Publishing. “As kids get older, the role parents play changes. We found that not only do parents need to be reading role models, but that they must play a key role in helping their older children select books that capture their imagination and interest.”

Almost three-quarters of parents surveyed (74%) say they value reading as the most important skill for a child to develop­followed by critical thinking (49%), math (46%), social (46%) and computer (27%) skills. While two-thirds of parents agree that strong reading skills are critical to future success and 80% say it is very important for kids to read books for fun outside of school, only 21% of parents identify themselves as high frequency readers (reading every day).

The importance of parents as reading role models is evidenced by the fact that children of high frequency readers are far more likely to read for fun every day than children whose parents are not high frequency readers. The study found that 53% of children whose parents are high frequency readers are reading books for fund every day; however, among children whose parents are low frequency readers (reading 2-3 times a month or less), only 15% read for fun daily. Parents who are high frequency readers are more likely to see themselves as primarily responsible for encouraging their children to read than parents who are low-frequency readers (60% vs. 46%).

The Scholastic Kids and Family Reading Report™ is available online at www.scholastic.com/readingreport

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