New Study on Reading in the Digital Age

Scholastic  surveyed 1,045 children age 6-17 and their parents (for a total of 2,090 respondents)  in an online survey in the spring of 2010.

Highlights from the survey:

Reading Books in the Digital Age

  • From age 6 – 17, the time kids spend reading books for fun declines while the time kids spend going online for fun and using a cell phone to text or talk increases.
  • Parents express concern that the use of electronic and digital devices negatively affects the time kids spend reading books, doing physical activities, and engaging with family.
  • Technology can be a positive motivator to get kids reading – over half of kids (age 9-17) say they are interested in reading an eBook, and a third of children age 9-17 say they would read more books for fun if they had access to eBooks on an electronic device.

The Value of Reading

  • When asked, children and parents agree the most important reason to read books for fun is to open up the imagination, be inspired, and to a lesser degree, to gain new information.
  • Eight in ten kids feel proud and have a sense of accomplishment when they finish reading a book.
  • While nearly eight in ten kids read for fun at least weekly, one in five kids reads books for fun less than once a week.

Role and the Power of Choice

  • There are several tactics that parents use to encourage their children to read – including making sure there are interesting books at home, limiting the use of technology, and suggesting books their children might like.
  • The most critical motivator to get to get kids reading is the power of choice. Nine out of ten children say that they are more likely to finish book they choose themselves.
  • Parents don’t try to overly influence their children toward choosing award winning books or classic literature. Nine out of 10 parents say “As long as my child is reading, I just want my child to read books he/she likes.”

About 25 percent of the children surveyed said they had already read a book on a digital device, including computers and e-readers. Fifty-seven percent between ages 9 and 17 said they were interested in doing so.

Francie Alexander, the chief academic officer at Scholastic, called the report “a call to action.”

“I didn’t realize how quickly kids had embraced this technology,” Ms. Alexander said, referring to computers and e-readers or other portable devices that can download books. “Clearly they see them as tools for reading — not just gaming, not just texting. They see them as an opportunity to read.”

Read the press release:

Read the survey:

Read the New York Times story:

1 Comment

  1. Maria Khaleghi says:

    The strategies that have worked with my children (ages 8, 9, 11) are having plenty of interesting books at home, visiting the library every week, and limiting the use of technology and television. We hardly watch television since we don’t have cable and my children are not allowed to use their electronics during school days, except for homework. They have access to audiobooks at the public library, but seem to prefer books. The problem that I sometimes have with my children is that they want to read their library books when they should be doing homework, practicing their music, or going to bed.

    I think the key to improving the reading interest of children is access to books and modeling. I read and I share my love of reading with my children. I also think that children should have their reading preferences met, rather it’s a book or a digital device for reading. The key is providing them with the access to the reading material and modeling for them the pleasure of leisure reading.

Leave a Reply