Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Kids and Family Reading Report

The latest Kids and Family Reading Report sheds very interesting light on reading habits. Although it relates to the US, I am sure the findings are applicable more widely. These are some of the most pertinent in terms of e-books:

  • The percentage of children and young people who have read an e-book has almost doubled in two years (46% v 26%).
  • One in five who have read e-books say they are reading more books for fun, with boys more likely to agree than girls.
  • Half of 9-17 year-olds say they would read more books for fun if they had greater access to e-books, 50% more than in 2010.
  • However four-fifths of those who read e-books still read books for fun primarily in print.
  • Children’s and young people see the chief benefits of e-books as convenience, a perception that they are a cool or more interesting way to read, and ease of looking up words.
  • They prefer e-books to print when on the move and when they don’t want friends to know what they are reading. (I’ve often spoken about the value of this, given the fears many children and young people have about how their peers will judge them for their reading – see this recent National Literacy survey.)
  • Printed books are deemed preferable in bed and when they want to share with their friends.
  • Children’s and young people’s choice of e-books is affected by their interactive features, these being the most popular:
    1. a dictionary (72%)
    2. note-taking, highlighting, commenting features (70%)
    3. activities to improve reading and/or vocabulary (67%)
    4. fun activities like games (64%)
    5. video (62%)
    6. read-aloud option (61%)
    7. following along when the narrator is reading (59%)
  • Over half of respondents say they will always want to read printed books even though there are e-books available.

Here are some other statistics that particularly caught my eye:

  • The most important reasons cited for reading for fun are:
    1. entertainment (74%)
    2. to help school success (68%) (how sad this is so high)
    3. to learn new information (67%)
    4. to use your imagination (65%)
  • Libraries are the most popular places to find books to read for fun. (I hope this is the case in the UK too, but with all the dreadful library cuts I wonder if it will continue to be.)
  • Over 90% of children and young people say they are more likely to finish a book they choose themselves.
  • Among girls, there has been a decline since 2010 in frequent readers (42% v 36%), reading enjoyment (71% v 66%), and the importance of reading books for fun (62% v 56%)
  • Boys are more likely now to think reading books for fun is important (47% v 39%), but they still lag girls (47% v 56%)
  • Frequency of reading books for fun is significantly lower for 12-17 year-olds than 6-11s; so is frequency of reading for school.
  • Having reading role-model parents or a large book collection at home has more impact on  reading frequency than household income. (This ties in with the findings of National Literacy Trust highlighting the importance of family support for children’s and young people’s reading, which I blogged about recently.)

I will certainly be bearing all this in mind as I prepare for the courses I have coming up on promoting reading. These things matter. We have known for many years that reading enjoyment is a crucial factor in reading attainment and that it impacts on life chances, hence the push on reading for pleasure by DfE and Ofsted.This is an English teacher’s passionate piece of advocacy for reading, and here are some young people talking about why they read.