I know I have mentioned that my dad used to take me to the library every Saturday morning when I was a kid and let me check out however many books I wanted (and also let me take as long as I wanted). We would then go to the grocery store where he bought me a box of peanut brittle and I read all the way home in the car because I just couldn’t wait. I read while brushing my teeth (still do), read under the covers with a flashlight (still do when my bedside light puts BF over the brink), read in the car, tried to read at the table, read walking across the house. It was like a Dr. Seuss story really. I can read in the car, near or far, on the bus, despite your fuss, in the store, while doing chores. You get the picture. I give books to kids as presents all the time. It’s my thing, really, and I have a group of favorite kid books that get sent everywhere (and then I forget if I have given this book or that book to this child or that child or… again, another Dr. Seuss story could be written but I’ll resist the urge). Suffice to say: I love books, love reading, love giving kids books, worry about whether or not kids are reading enough, could kiss JK Rowling for making kids voracious readers again even if I haven’t read one sentence of a Harry Potter book.
So when I see the 2008 Kids and Family Reading Report come across my computer screen, I had to investigate. Are kids reading? Here’s the scoop:
68% of children think it is extremely or very important to read for pleasure
82% of children between the ages of 5 and 8 like or love reading for pleasure
55% of teens between the ages of 15-17 like or love reading for pleasure
90% of respondents believe that they need to be a strong reader to get into a good college
25% are “high frequency” pleasure readers (reading daily)
53% qualify 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.” Boys outnumbered girls by 10% in all age categories in stating that they had trouble finding enjoyable books.
Parents who read frequently were found to be six times more likely to have children that read often, compared to those who read infrequently. Around one quarter of parents (24%) said they read frequently.
82% of parents responded that they wished their children read more for fun, with nearly the same percentage citing reading skills as one of the top three most important skills for their children to possess, along with critical thinking and math skills.