More Kids are Reading for Fun!
Just when you might have given up all hope of children reading for fun, new research from the National Literacy Trust (NLT) suggests otherwise.
For the survey, around 32,000 school children between the ages of eight and 18 were asked questions about their reading habits and their favourite material to read.
What they found was the both enjoyment of reading and how often the kids actually read is at the highest levels for nine years, with around 60% of the children questioned having a favourite work of fiction.
NLT Director Jonathan Douglas has attributed the findings to popular series of books over the last few years, such as Twilight and The Hunger Games, as well as some reading campaigns to encourage young people to read.
“Book Start, the Summer Reading Challenge, and the Young Readers Challenge have combined with the attraction and ease of digital reading,” he explained.
In the list of favourite fiction from the school children, there were four familiar titles take the top spots. All of these books have become hugely popular film franchises – Diary of a Wimpy Kid, topping the list, followed closely by The Hunger Games, the Twilight series, and the Harry Potter books.
But kids aren’t just reading books, they’re reading everything. From magazines and comics to emails and texts, to poems and song lyrics, kids are reading so much!
Of course, as is often the case with studies like this, there is a persistent gender gap, with girls showing more of an interest in reading outside of the classroom than boys. 46.5% of girls admitted to this, while only 35.8% of boys said the same.
More than 60% of girls also said they enjoyed reading “very much” or “quite a lot”, compared with less than half of the boys questions in the survey.
And while reading has come a long way in terms of popularity, more than half of the children in the study said they favoured watching TV over reading – though, that isn’t really shocking!
Mr Douglas explained that almost a third of disadvantaged children also don’t believe their parents care or not if they read outside of school. Despite this, he said it was very encouraging that the number of those that do read every day has risen dramatically.
“More must be done to help parents realise what a difference reading with their children from a young age can make to their future,” he added.
War Horse author Michael Morpurgo agreed, explaining that there are still a lot of boys who find no pleasure in reading because they are disheartened by it. This means that there are still some children who will never become readers at all.
Because of this, he said that it’s up to adults – authors and illustrators, as well as parents and teachers – to make reading an enjoyable experience for children, even for the most reluctant readers.
He said that it was great news to know there are children who are taking up reading and making it a part of their lives. “This is quiet enrichment,” he added. “This is growing awareness; this is the heart of the matter of education for life.”
So, if you have children at home, even nieces or nephews or grandchildren, why not settle down with them with a book and allow them to bring the story alive for you.