What the Research Says
The study reports 86% of parents think reading books for fun is extremely or very important for their child, but only 46% of kids say the same. In addition, 75% of parents with kids ages 6-17 say, "I wish my child would read more for fun" and 71% of parents wish their "child would do more things that did not involve screen time."
Other key findings include:
1) What Makes a Frequent Reader?
- Frequent readers (a child who reads for fun 5-7 days a week) have, on average, 205 books in the home and infrequent readers (a child who reads for fun less than once a week) have 129 books in the home.
- Frequent readers ages 12-17,read an average of 39.6 books a year, while infrequent readers in this age group read an average of only 4.7 books a year.
There are three powerful factors that can predict whether a child (across ALL ages 6-17) will be a frequent reader including:
- Children's level of reading enjoyment
- Parents who are frequent readers
- A child's belief that reading for fun is important
But, we also found unique additional factors predicting reading frequency at different ages:
- Predictors for kids (ages 6-11) include: being read aloud to 5-7 days a week before Kindergarten, currently being read aloud to, and less online computer time.
- Predictors for kids (ages 12-17) include: having time for independent reading during the school day, reading more since starting to read ebooks, and having 150 or more print books in the home.
2) Reading Aloud
- More than half of kids ages 0-5 are read aloud to 5-7 days a week, but the number dips to 1 in 3 among kids ages 6-8 and then 1 in 6 among kids ages 9-11; however, 40% of kids ages 6-11 whose parents stopped reading to them say they wish their parents had continued.
- More than 80% of kids ages 6-17 say they love(d) or like(d) a lot being read aloud to.
3) Reading in School
- Only one third of children ages 6-17 (33%) say their class has a designated time during the school day to read a book of their choice independently, but only 17% do this every or almost every school day.
- School plays a bigger role in reading books for fun for children in lower income homes. Sixty-one percent of children ages 6-17 who live in a home with an annual income of less than $35K read for fun mostly in school or the same amount at school and at home, while 32% of kids ages 6-17 who live in a home with an annual income of $100K or more say the same.