Scholastic 2015 Report on Kids and Summer Reading

As teachers, librarians, and caregivers we are in a position to foster a love of reading in our children.  How can we get a child to the point where he picks up a book to read for fun?  Scholastic and YouGov conducted a study, publishing their results in the Kids and Family Reading Report 5th Edition, to examine that very question.

To create a “frequent reader” in children 6-17 the study points to several predicting factors (a frequent reader is defined as a child who reads books for pleasure five to seven days a week). The article elaborates: “Three dynamics among the most powerful predictors are:

  • being more likely to rate themselves as “really enjoying reading”
  • a strong belief that reading for fun is important and
  • having parents who are frequent readers. (Page 23)”

Other noteworthy factors included: early experience reading aloud with a parent, having a variety of books around the home accessible to the child, and limiting device/ screen time.

It’s never too early to start reading to your child, as soon as the baby is born, read to him or her; they process more than you may realize!  

Eight in ten children said they love(ed) being read to as a child. Storytime is an enjoyable bonding and learning experience that can stimulate and reinforce the invaluable habit of enjoying a good book.

Once the child is older, have him choose the book he wants to read.  Children, like adults, like a sense of control. Bring them to the library and have them browse the shelves for books that they find appealing.

So what do children look for in a book?  The study has some interesting insights:

Ninety-one percent of children ages 6–17 say “my favorite books are the ones that I have picked out myself.” (Page 56)

The majority of kids ages 6–17 (70%) say they want books that “make me laugh.”

Kids also want books that “let me use my imagination” (54%)

“tell a made-up story” (48%)

“have characters I wish I could be like because they’re smart, strong or brave” (43%)

“teach me something new” (43%)

and “have a mystery or a problem to solve” (41%).”

As mentioned earlier, it is important to limit screen time.  There are many distractions available to children including smartphones, tablets, and other devices which can compete with books.  If you set limits early on, the child will learn to view books as a source of entertainment.  Create a household reading habit and your children will likely follow suit.

Fill your house with books and read.

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