Publishers Weekly reports on a new study in the US which found that interest in reading declines as kids get older. "Children ages 5-17 like to read books, but they read significantly less after the age of eight," says the Kids and Family Reading Report, a national survey of children ages 5-17 and their parents, sponsored by Scholastic.
The good news is that 92 percent of kids say they like to read for fun. But while 44 percent of children age 5-8 were classified as high frequency readers (reading every day), that number falls to 29 percent for ages 9-11, down to 25 percent for ages 12-14, and ends up at 16 percent for ages 15-17.
46 percent of 15- to 17-year-olds are characterized by the study as low frequency readers (reading no more than 2-3 times per month), while only 16 percent in that age group are high frequency readers.
One reason for the drop-off, the study found, was the poor role models parents set as readers. Only 21 percent of parents are frequent readers. One might also argue that life starts to intervene around the same age, and any 14 year old who can find time to read for fun every day between piano lessons, basketball training, homework, school concerts, talking on the phone, Saturday morning sports and horse riding is doing pretty well. It's hard enough to find time for sleeping and eating.
Interestingly, and running counter to common - and learned - opinion, the study did not report a huge disparity between girls and boys on the topic of whether or not they like to read.
49 percent of boys said they enjoy reading for fun "a lot", while 57 percent of girls said the same; 26 percent of boys said they read books for fun every day while 36 percent of girls do. Some difference, but not as much as is generally feared.
However, just 5 percent of girls called reading "not at all" important, compared to 14 percent of boys.