The Book Standard has uncovered the latest Kids and Family Reading Report conducted by Yankelovich and Scholastic. 92% of kids enjoy reading for fun. 90% of kids also say that they believe reading for fun is important. Unfortunately, there is a sharp drop-off in high frequency readers between the ages of 5-8 (40%) and 9-11 (29%). The study, taken from a sample of 500 kids, also notes that “the #1 reason why they do not read more is because they can not find books they like to read.”
Part of me wonders if there is some fundamental disconnect going on here that American society is remaining silent about. If the desire to read within kids is there, what is our education system doing to steer children off reading? Does the drop-off occur here because it’s not socially acceptable to read? Or because parents are demanding their kids to read instead of letting them discover books on their own? What underlying factor that shifts reading away from fun and more towards work? The study here suggests that 72% of high frequency readers associate the need to read with getting into a good college or nabbing a good job when they get older. Reading becomes viewed as “work” as early as the age of 5.
But if the chief problem here is that kids aren’t finding books they “like to read,” perhaps there is something within the current system that is not only preventing kids from “liking” literature, but prohibiting a sense of self-discovery. Thus, the “fun” becomes “work,” rather than something naturally embedded within young minds, and the great interest dissipates.
© 2006, Edward Champion. All rights reserved.