Reading for fun declines with age

By: | July 11, 2019
Parents still gravitate toward a school book fair because they like when children get reading recommendations from educators. Providers who have offered e-books at the fairs have found that kids, and many adults, still prefer paperbacks.Parents still gravitate toward a school book fair because they like when children get reading recommendations from educators. Providers who have offered e-books at the fairs have found that kids, and many adults, still prefer paperbacks.

Children between the ages of 6 and 17 have demonstrated a steady commitment to reading over the past decade, but on average, reading declines as kids get older, according to the seventh edition of Scholastic’s “Kids and Family Reading Report.”

The study shows that the frequency of children reading books for fun begins to drop around age 9.

Notably, the findings indicate that only 35% of 9-year-olds report reading frequently compared to 57% of 8-year-olds.

The report also reveals:

  • 58% of respondents love or like reading books for fun
  • 52% agree reading books for fun is extremely or very important
  • 31% of students in this age group are known as “frequent readers,” and read books for leisure five to seven days per week.

Overall, kids’ views on reading enjoyment have largely held steady since 2010. The report, however, says the percentage of students reading for pleasure dipped in 2014 but rebounded in 2016, and remains steady at about 60% in 2018.

A strong factor in reading enjoyment is choice, according to the report. Across demographics, the majority of kids (89%) agree that their favorite books are the ones they have picked out.

“Studies show that the two most powerful factors in improving motivation to read are giving students access to many books and giving them the freedom to choose what they read,” says Alan Boyko, president of Scholastic Book Fairs. “When you do this, reading becomes pleasurable, satisfying, and eventually instinctive and habitual.”


Read the full feature: School book fairs bounce back