Number of kids reading e-books rises 21pc since 2010 – report

15 Jan 2013

The number of children reading e-books has nearly doubled since 2010 and kids who read e-books are reading more, especially boys, a new report suggests.

The Kids & Family Reading Report surveyed kids ages 6-17 and their parents about their views on reading in the digital age and what influences kids’ reading frequency and attitudes toward reading.

The findings of the survey, managed by marketing and strategic research consulting firm Harrison Group, reveal the percentage of children who have read an e-book stands at 46pc, an increase of 21pc since 2010.

What’s more, one in four boys – more commonly known to be reluctant readers, according to the report – who has read an e-book says he is now reading more books for fun.

These results should be encouraging to parents, of whom 49pc say they feel their kids don’t spend enough time reading books for fun. In addition, 50pc of youngsters ages 9-17 say they would read more books for fun if they had greater access to e-books.

From moderately frequent to frequent readers

E-books may also be the key to transition moderately frequent readers (defined as kids who read one to four days a week) to frequent readers (those who read five to seven days a week), according to the report. Fifty-seven per cent of moderately frequent readers who have not read an e-book agree they would read more if they had greater access to e-books.

“While highlighting opportunities, this report remains a call to action to stay focused on increasing reading frequency among our children because the more they read, the better readers they will become and the more they will love it and continue to read,” said Francie Alexander, chief academic officer of Scholastic, the children’s publishing, education and media company that conducted the survey.

“Literacy is a critical doorway to success in both school and life, particularly as the digital world increases access to information. Our children need to gain the skills learned by reading, such as the ability to analyse, interpret and understand complex texts and to separate fact from opinion.”

The report also found that having a reading role model parent or a large book collection at home has a greater impact on kids’ reading frequency than does household income.

Plus, building reading into kids’ daily schedules and regularly bringing home books for children positively impacts kids’ reading frequency, the report indicates.

Tina Costanza was a journalist and sub-editor at Silicon Republic