Scholastic recently released the findings from its seventh edition of its Kids & Family Reading Report. The report includes survey data from over 1,000 children ages 6 through 17 and their parents, along with 678 parents of kiddos between birth and five. One of the key findings was a sharp decline in frequency of and enjoyment in reading in kids between the ages of eight and nine-years, known as the “decline by nine.”
While 57 percent of eight-year-olds reported reading books for fun between five and seven days a week, only 35 percent of nine-year-olds did so. There was also a decline in the number of nine-year-olds who say they love reading and who think reading books is fun.
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Lauren Tarshis, SVP & Editor-in-Chief/Publisher of Scholastic Magazines and author of the bestselling I Survived series said, “It is worrisome that the Kids & Family Reading Report shows us that many kids are losing their connection to reading when they need it most, in third grade. But the research also has a powerful message from kids that they want to read, but not just any book.”
So what can you do to prevent this potential decline? And how can you help your kiddo to find books that they actually want to read? The answer lies in more diverse books.
Pinkney added, “When a young reader finds a story that positively reflects his or her own story—or presents the stories of people not like themselves—that child becomes encouraged to read more. This has a direct impact on how kids view their place in the world, and helps them develop empathy and open-mindedness. Tomorrow’s leaders need to see themselves in books. The report empowers us to help kids do that.”
Along with adding diversity to your child’s lit lineup, act as a reading role model. Scholastic’s survey found that children who read often are often surrounded by people who enjoy reading. A whopping 82 percent of kids who are considered frequent readers reported knowing a lot of people who enjoy reading. In comparison, only 34 percent of infrequent readers said they know plenty of people who like to read. This may mean if you show enjoyment in reading, your child will too.
Beyond showing your own enjoyment in reading, the findings of Scholastic’s report underscores the importance of providing easy access to books (both at home and in school) and encouraging children to choose literature that interests them.