Scholastic, the world’s largest publisher of children’s content and innovators in kids’ digital reading, has released the findings of its Kids & Family Reading Report, the purpose of which is to “explore the reading attitudes and experiences that most influence children’s reading habits, including reading aloud at home, independent reading at school, presence of books in the home, and more.”
There has long been an established correlation between reading in the home, and children’s academic performance and their lifelong association with books. This home reading isn’t limited to parents encouraging or requiring their children to read, but also to how reading is modeled from the parents, how much emphasis is placed on shared family reading, and other factors. This family attitude towards reading is so prevalent, in fact, that this year’s survey actually included parents of children who are far too young to hold a book, let alone choose one for themselves.
“Key findings reveal predictors of reading frequency, the importance of reading aloud to children at various ages, how frequently children have opportunities to read for pleasure at school and much more. For the first time, this year’s survey also includes data from parents of children ages 0–5 to shed a light on the role parents play in children’s literacy development before they enter school.”
The obvious results of the survey indicated that the more often a child reads, the more books he will read in the course of a year. That might not seem too profound, but there were more important findings, such as the correlation between how often the parents read on their own and how children view reading.
But what makes a child an avid reader? Across the different age groups, there were unifying factors. The most simple answer is obviously access to books; no one can become a successful reader without access to titles, either in the home, at school, or through the library. But other factors include access to results of reading level tests, support from parents in locating interesting titles to read, and a startling emphasis on reading aloud, both as a reader and as a listener.
Interestingly, older students who have access to ebooks reported reading more books, which shouldn’t come as a surprise. The ability to browse and download new titles instantly, often at a significant savings over print, keeps the habit in motion as compared to waiting for access to a print title.
This year’s survey also included a focus on reading for fun in the learning environment, and found that when students have access to books and are provided with time to read for fun during the school day, their frequency and their desire to read increase.
“Parents, teachers and librarians all want to help children develop into frequent readers, and the latest edition of the Kids & Family Reading Report provides important insights on how a child’s reading experience can be guided both at home and at school to help develop a lifelong love of reading,” said Francie Alexander, Chief Academic Officer at Scholastic. “Our research shows that providing encouragement and time both in school and at home for children of all ages to enjoy books they choose to read will help them discover the power and joy of reading. These tactics will also help to motivate kids to read more books, which will improve their skills and open a world of possibilities for them in the future.”
A more in-depth look at the survey and its report can be found at Scholastic.com/readingreport.