Despite the popularity of young adult series like Harry Potter, Hunger Games and the Divergent series, are reading rates dropping?New research released in May 2014 from Common Sense Media finds that reading rates don't just fall as kids grow up, but they've also dropped dramatically over the last three decades, with 45 percent of 17-year-olds admitting they read by choice only once or twice a year. That is down more than 50% from the last decade. The research reviews national surveys and databases to identify trends in childrens' and teens' reading rates and achievements.
Jim Steyer of Common Sense Media says that "Kids with parents who read, who buy or take books out of the library for their kids, and who then set time aside in their kids' daily schedule for reading, tend to read the most," — whether it's on a book, an e-book or some other gadget. This isn't news to educators. Parents who model reading and who spend some time ever week reading with their kids are able to instill an enjoyment of leisure reading.
Parents who introduce the family to the public library and make regular visits also bring the gift of a near endless supply of free books to their children and teens. When book stores are too expensive or someone just wants to try a books out, the shelves of the library can carry a reader along beyond the encouragement to simply pick up a book.
Luckily, e-reading seems to be gaining some momentum and can be substituting for some of the paper book version.
A summary of the research brief from Common Sense Media can be seen in this infographic.
Common Sense Media is a non-profit national organization led by concerned parents and individuals that provide advocacy and support in the areas of the safe use of technology and education for children. The full report can be found here.