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Study Finds Children Aren't Reading for Fun

A new report finds that fewer children are reading for fun, and teachers are trying to counteract that trend . 

In a Scholastic 2014 survey of just over 1,000 children ages 6 to 17, "only 31 percent said they read a book for fun almost daily, down from 37 percent four years ago," according to an article on NYTimes.com.

"There were some consistent patterns among the heavier readers: For the younger children — ages 6 to 11 — being read aloud to regularly and having restricted online time were correlated with frequent reading; for the older children — ages 12 to 17 — one of the largest predictors was whether they had time to read on their own during the school day," the article said.

According to the article, "the finding about reading aloud to children long after toddlerhood may come as a surprise to some parents who read books to children at bedtime when they were very young but then tapered off. Last summer, the American Academy of Pediatrics announced a new policy recommending that all parents read to their children from birth."

“A lot of parents assume that once kids begin to read independently, that now that is the best thing for them to do,” said Maggie McGuire, the vice president for a website for parents operated by Scholastic.

But reading aloud through elementary school, the article said, "seemed to be connected to a love of reading generally."

"According to the report, 41 percent of frequent readers ages 6 to 10 were read aloud to at home, while only 13 percent of infrequent readers were being read to," the article said.

In the article Kristen Harmeling, a partner at YouGov who worked on the report, said "that children in the survey frequently cited reading aloud as a special bonding time with their parents."

"As children age, Harmeling said, 'I don’t think that parents know how important that time and the role that it plays in children’s lives.'"

According to Timothy Shanahan, professor emeritus of urban education at the University of Illinois at Chicago, "children who love to read are generally immersed in households with lots of books and parents who like to read. So while parents who read to their children later in elementary school may encourage those children to become frequent readers on their own, such behavior can also result from 'a whole constellation of other things that goes on in those families.'"

“It’s this idea of marinating children in higher-level vocabulary,” said Pam Allyn, founder of LitWorld.Org, a nonprofit group that works to increase literacy among young people. “The read-aloud can really lift the child.”

Read the full story and comment below. 

Article by Kassondra Granata, Education World Contributor 

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