Today, Scholastic released a survey showing the positive impact that supporting a child’s interest in reading can have on their love for books.
Clear trends emerged between frequent readers, who read books for fun 5-7 days a week, and infrequent readers, who participate in the activity less than one day a week. For ages 12-17, kids who have time to read independently during the school day, live in a home with 150 or more print books, and have parents who encourage reading read an average of 39.6 books per year, compared to only 4.7 books by infrequent readers.
For younger children ages 6-11, those who were read aloud to 5-7 days a week before they entered kindergarten or are currently read aloud to at home read an average of 43.4 books per year, versus 21.1 books by infrequent readers. In this age group, 60% of the frequent readers had parents who reported reading to their children 5-7 days a week before they entered kindergarten, compared to only 26% of infrequent readers. Additionally, 41% of frequent readers reported that they are currently read to, versus 13% of infrequent readers. The findings show the importance of early reading for kids, but also, that even up to the end of elementary school, students can still benefit from read aloud time.
The survey also found that there is work to be done to introduce every child to the joy of reading. While 74% of the highest-income households received advice that children should be read aloud to from birth, only 47% of the lowest-income households received that same guidance. For children from low-income families, schools play an important role in promoting reading for enjoyment. Sixty-one percent of children from low-income households reported that they read for fun mostly at their school or equally at school and home, compared to only 32% of kids from the highest-income homes.
While the survey did find that fewer kids read for fun daily – 31% compared to 37% four years ago – there were some encouraging signs in children ages 6-17 who said they enjoy reading now even more than they did when they were younger. Eighty percent of them said they enjoy reading more now because they are better readers, with 59% saying it’s also because they get to pick out the books they read and 49% saying the books are more interesting. Ensuring that children have access to exciting, age-appropriate books at home and in school, have the proper support to develop their reading habits, and have positive influences in their lives encouraging them to explore books are all critical endeavors to promote a lifelong love of reading.
By Aaron Kinnari, Founder, Read Notebooks