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Are Reading Trends Changing?

May 26, 2014


A new report released this month by Common Sense Media suggests that reading habits are changing. Whether it’s new technology or trends at home, Common Sense Media took findings from many recent reading studies to gauge reading habits of children. Here are the highlights from the study:

  • As children get older, time spent reading for fun drastically reduces. In recent years, the proportion of kids who read daily drops markedly from childhood to tween and teenager. According to a Scholastic study done in 2013, there was a drop in daily reading habits in children ages 6-8 to 48 percent; down to 24 percent in teenagers ages 15 -17 and a drop from 53 percent of 9-year-olds to 17-year-olds.
  • Reading scores in young children have improved steadily but improvement among older teens has not. A study by the National Center for Education Statistics in 2013 found that reading scores among 9-13 year olds have improved but among 17-year-olds, scores have remained roughly the same.
  • A reading-achievement gap continues to persist across gender lines. According to government test scores, white students continue to score 21 or more points higher on average than black or Hispanic/Latino children. According to the NCES in a 2012 study, only 18 percent of black and 20 percent of Hispanic fourth graders are rated proficient in reading, as compared to 46 percent of white students who are listed as proficient in reading.
  • There is a reading gap in reading time and achievement. According to Common Sense Media, girls read for pleasure an average of 10 minutes more per day than boys. This gap has been found among both younger and older children.  A 2013 Scholastic study indicates that among teenagers, 18 percent of boys are daily readers, compared to 30 percent of girls.
  • Reading is still a preferred activity. Survey research indicates that young children, tweens and teens read or are read to an average of between a half hour and an hour a day.
  • E-Reading could significantly alter the nature of reading for children. According to Common Sense Media, 20 percent to 29 percent of young children (ages 8 and under) live at home with an E-Reader and 40 percent to 55 percent have a tablet at home. While the E-Reader generation is still getting under way, it is difficult to determine how this might shape the reading habits.
  • Parents can continue to encourage reading in their children by keeping books and other reading material at kids’ reach. Parents can also model behavior by reading themselves and setting aside time each day to read to their children.