A new report released by Scholastic corroborates the findings of the company’s 2006 report on children’s reading habits, finding that pleasure reading in children begins to decline at age eight and continues to do so into the teen years. 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. It also found that although children can readily envision a future in which reading and technology are increasingly intertwined, nearly two thirds prefer to read physical books, rather than on a computer screen or digital device. Additionally, a large majority of children recognize the importance of reading for their future goals, with 90% of respondents agreeing that they “need to be a strong reader to get into a good college.”
The 2008 Kids and Family Reading Report, conducted by TSC, a division of consumer trends research company Yankelovich, is 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.
Nearly one in four children was found to be a “high frequency” pleasure reader (reading daily), with an additional 53% qualifying as “moderate frequency” readers, reading for pleasure between one and six times per week. When children were asked why they do not engage in more pleasure reading, the top answer selected was “I would rather do other things,” followed in frequency by “I have too much schoolwork and homework,” and “I have trouble finding books that I like.” (This third answer was the top response selected in the 2006 survey.) Boys outnumbered girls by 10% in all age categories in stating that they had trouble finding enjoyable books.