It seems the demise of reading among our young people has been greatly exaggerated.
A new survey by Scholastic and YouGov reveals that nearly 6 out of 10 children ages 6 to 17 read for fun. That’s according to an article by The Associated Press. As a reader myself and someone who works hard to instill a love of reading in my children, that’s a pretty good number. And it’s holding steady. The survey found that about the same number gave a similar answer in 2010.
Interest in reading did decline in some age groups — 12-14 year-olds dropped the most.
Kids appear to be reading books you’ve probably heard of — “Harry Potter,” “Junie B. Jones” and “Diary of a Wimpy Kid.”
Meanwhile, reading begins at home. The survey found that 40 % of parents reported beginning to read to their children when they kids where 3 months old or younger. That’s how it went in our house. My wife started collecting books for the boys before they were born and we read them stories almost from the day they arrived. To this day, my wife is religious about making monthly trips to the library to bring home a dozen books at a time. We can see the benefits through their achievements in school.
One piece of information I found interesting is this: The more money in a home, the more books there are. For instance, households making $100,000 or more had about 127 books. That’s nearly double homes where income was less than $35,000.
The survey didn’t touch on this but I think it’s important to let your children see you reading. My wife and I always have books going — sometimes more than one. And we make it a point to sit on the couch, without the television on or a smartphone in our hands and just read. What our kids see, they will emulate.
I don’t need a survey to tell me the importance of reading. It’s as fundamental to me as breathing and I know that no matter how long I live I will always have a healthy list of books I want to read or re-read. I’m heartened that the majority of our young people find value and joy in reading. That’s something to raise a book to.