New Reading Study and Parental Involvement
Reading seems to be a popular topic recently as several bloggers are discussing How to Read a Book and Why Homeschool's not so long ago post on the National Council on Teacher Quality Report on reading instruction. So I thought I'd share an interesting article from Publisher's, Study Finds Decline in Reading in Older Kids. The higlights? Kids like to read until they are 8. The reason? Parents don't seem to like to read. Funny how everything keeps going back to the modelling of the parents.

Children ages 5-17 like to read books, but they read significantly less after the age of eight, a report sponsored by Scholastic found. According to the Kids and Family Reading Report, a national survey of children ages 5-17 and their parents that was released yesterday, 92% of kids say they like to read for fun. But while 44% of children age 5-8 were classified as high frequency readers (reading every day), that number falls to 29% for ages 9-11, down to 25% for ages 12-14, and ends up at 16% for ages 15-17. Forty-six percent of 15-to-17-year-olds are characterized by the study as low frequency readers (reading no more than 2-3 times per month), while only 16% in that age group are high frequency readers.

One reason for the drop-off, the study found, was the poor role models parents set as readers. Only 21% of parents are frequent readers. Scholastic’s Lisa Holton said that even if parents don’t read more themselves, they should help encourage the reading habit by continuing to read to their children after the age of eight and by helping to make book recommendations. Parents ranked as second as the best source for book ideas among high frequency readers, topped only by librarians, while among low frequency readers, teachers were the main source of ideas and parents were fifth on the charts (friends were #2, followed by librarians and television).

Book suggestions are important to reading, since the number one reason kids reported that they don’t read more is because they can’t find books they like to read. “Parents may be underestimating the difficulty kids have finding books they like,” observed Hal Quinley from Yankelovich, the firm the conducted the study. Other top reasons for not reading are other things to do and too much schoolwork and/or homework.

The study did not report a wide disparity between girls and boys on the topic of whether they like to read or not. Forty-nine percent of boys said they enjoy reading for fun “a lot,” while 57% of girls said the same; 26% of boys said they read books for fun every day while 36% of girls do. However, just 5% of girls called reading “not at all” important, compared to 14% of boys.

Holton said Scholastic may do a follow-up study in three to five years to chart changes in kids’ reading.

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