U.S. EDITION

The State of Kids & Reading

Half of children ages 6–17 (51%) are currently reading a book for fun and another one in five (20%) just finished one.

Whether Children Are Currently Reading Books for Fun

Base: Children Ages 6–17


Both children and parents say strong reading skills are among the most important skills children should have, though fewer kids than parents say this.

Parents’ and Children’s Views on the Three Most Important Skills Kids Should Have

Base: Parents of Children Ages 6–17 (Left) and Children Ages 6–17 (Right)


While almost nine in 10 parents of children ages 6–17 (86%) say it is extremely or very important for their child to read books for fun, less than half of kids (46%) say the same.

Parents’ and Children’s Views on the Importance of Child Reading Books for Fun

Base: Parents of Children Ages 6–17 (Left) and Children Ages 6–17 (Right)


Parents identify many benefits they want their children to get from reading books for fun.

Benefits Parents Most Want Their Child to Get from Reading Books for Fun

Base: Parents of Children Ages 6–17


The percentage of moderately frequent readers has remained consistent over the years, while slightly fewer children are now reading books for fun 5–7 days a week.

Frequency with Which Children Read Books for Fun

Base: Children Ages 6–17


Although reading frequency among girls and children ages 6–8 is similar to 2010, reading frequency has dropped among boys and kids older than age 8.

Percentage of Children Who Read Books for Fun 5–7 Days a Week

Base: Children Ages 6–17


As children grow older, reading competes with many activities.

Percentage of Children Who Do Activities 5–7 Days a Week

Base: Children Ages 6–17


More children are playing games or apps and more are using a smartphone or other handheld device for going online 5–7 days a week than in years past.

Percentage of Children Who Do Activities 5–7 Days a Week

Base: Children Ages 6–17


While more than four in 10 children (44%) like reading more now that they are older, nearly three in 10 (29%)—especially boys—liked reading more when they were younger.

Comparison of How Much Children Enjoy Reading Now to When They Were Younger

Base: Children Ages 6–17


Among children who like reading more now, the most common reason they give is that they are now better readers.

Reasons Children Enjoy Reading More Now Compared to When They Were Younger

Base: Children Ages 6–17 Who Like Reading More Now


Among children who liked reading more when they were younger, the most common reason they give is that there are now many other things they enjoy more than reading.

Reasons Children Enjoyed Reading More When Younger Compared to Now

Base: Children Ages 6–17 Who Enjoyed Reading More When They Were Younger


Reading enjoyment declines sharply after age 8.

Degree to Which Children Enjoy Reading Books for Fun

Base: Children Ages 6–17


While half of all children ages 6–17 (51%) love or like reading books for fun a lot, this percentage has declined since 2010.

Degree to Which Children Enjoy Reading Books for Fun

Base: Children Ages 6–17


The percentage of children who say reading books for fun is extremely or very important drops after age 8.

Children’s Views on the Importance of Reading Books for Fun

Base: Children Ages 6–17


Girls are more likely than are boys to say reading books for fun is extremely or very important, although boys and girls are less likely to say this compared to years past.

Children’s Views on the Importance of Reading Books for Fun

Base: Children Ages 6–17


SPOTLIGHT:
What Makes Frequent Readers

There are three dynamics that are among the most powerful predictors of reading frequency for children ages 6–17.

Top Predictors of Reading Frequency

Base: Children Ages 6–17


For children ages 6–11, additional factors that predict reading frequency involve reading aloud, specific characteristics kids want in books and spending less time online using a computer.

Additional Predictors of Reading Frequency

Base: Children Ages 6–11


For children ages 12–17, the additional factors that predict reading frequency include reading a book of choice independently in school, ereading experiences, a large home library, having been told their reading level and having parents involved in their reading habits.

Additional Predictors of Reading Frequency

Base: Children Ages 12–17


Overall, frequent readers are less likely than are infrequent readers to engage in common screen-related activities 5–7 days a week.

Percentage of Children Who Do Activities 5–7 Days a Week

Base: Children Ages 6–17


The total number of books read annually by frequent readers is significantly higher than the number read by infrequent readers—especially among children ages 12–17.

Average Number of Books Children Have Read in the Past Year

Base: Children Ages 6–17


Parents of infrequent readers are more likely to say they need help finding books their child will like than are parents of frequent readers.

Parents’ Agreement with Statement: “I need help finding books my child likes”

Base: Parents of Children Ages 6–17