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Key FIndings

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In early 2017, Scholastic, in conjunction with YouGov, conducted a survey to explore the attitudes and behaviours of English- and French-speaking Canadian children and families around reading books for fun. The key findings of this research, based on a nationally representative sample of 1,939 parents and children, including 371 parents of children ages 0–5; 784 parents of children ages 6–17; plus one child ages 6–17 from each of the same households, are as follows:

1. The State of Kids & Reading in Canada

  • The majority of children ages 6–17 (86%) are currently reading or have just finished reading a book for fun. Half of kids (50%) read books for fun 1–4 days per week, while 34% are frequent readers, reading 5–7 days per week. Girls (38%) are more likely than boys (30%) to be frequent readers. (Page 12 & 13)
  • Children, particularly those who are frequent readers, gain inspiration (76%) and a sense of accomplishment (90%) from reading. (Page 25)
  • Parents’ reading habits play a large role in determining how often kids read: 57% of kids who are frequent readers have parents who read books 5–7 days per week, compared to only 15% of kids who are infrequent readers. (Page 14)
  • As children get older, reading for fun starts to lose out to other activities, with 50% of kids ages 6–8 reading for fun 5–7 days per week, compared to only 25% of 15–17 year-olds. Eighty-three percent of parents would like to see reduced screen time for their kids, more so for parents of infrequent readers (90%). (Page 13 & 22)

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2. What Canadian Kids & Parents want in books

  • On average, families report having 80 books in the home, with frequent readers’ homes having 118 books, compared to 61 books in the homes of infrequent readers. (Page 30)
  • Both parents and teachers play a key role in encouraging children to read books for fun and are among the number top sources for great book ideas. (Page 37)
  • One in five children and parents look for books with characters that are culturally or ethnically diverse, with 74% of those parents identifying diversity in children’s books as “people and experiences that are different than those of their child.” (Page 41 & 42)
  • Ninety-four percent of children agree that their favourite books are the ones they picked out themselves, and almost all children (92%) agree that they are more likely to finish a book they picked out.. (Page 33)
  • Nearly 50% of kids, say they have trouble finding books they like, even though only 36% of parents think their child has that problem.. (Page 35)
  • Nearly half of kids ages 6-17 (46%) and their parents (45%) want books that make kids laugh. Parents (41%) and kids (39%) in this age group also look for characters who face a challenge and overcome it when choosing a book to read for fun. (Page 39 & 40)

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3. Reading Aloud

  • Nine in 10 kids and parents say they enjoy/enjoyed read-aloud time, and parents of children ages 0–5 cite reading books aloud, telling stories and talking together as among the most important things parents should do with their children to develop language skills. (Page 56 & 63)
    • While more than half (61%) of children ages 0–5 are read aloud to 5–7 days per week, the frequency of reading aloud drops significantly after age 5 (41%) and again after age 8 (16%). Fifty-eight percent of kids ages 6–8 say they wanted reading aloud to continue. Among all children who are no longer read aloud to, boys are more likely to say this than girls. (Pages 59 & 62)
  • The top reasons parents and children ages 6–11 say they like reading aloud together are:
    • It is a special time with my child/parent.
    • Reading together is fun.
    • It creates a love for reading. (Page 64)
  • More than half of parents (54%) received advice from parenting resources or friends and family that they should read aloud to their child from birth; despite having received this advice, only 35% of parents of 0-5 year olds started reading to their child before 3 months of age. (Page 54 & 55)
  • Seven in 10 parents (70%) with children ages 0–5 say they started reading aloud to their child before age 1. (Page 55)

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4. Reading in Canadian Schools

  • Sixty-five percent of kids ages 6 --17 have the chance to read independently during the school day with 42% saying, “I wish we would do this more often” and 34% saying, “It’s one of my favourite parts of the school day.” (Page 70, 72 & 73)
  • Few children read for an hour or more during independent reading time, and more than half (52%) read for less than 20 minutes. (Page 71)
  • Ninety-seven percent of parents agree that every school should have a library. (Page 75)
  • Kids who read independently at school are more likely to:
    • Find reading books for fun important.
    • Like reading books for fun.
    • Agree books have inspired them to believe in themselves.
    • Read 15 more books on average per year than kids who do not read independently at school. (Page 74)

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5. Summer Reading

  • Many kids (84%), and even more parents (96%), believe in the value of summer reading and agree that reading books during the summer will help them during the school year. (Page 81)
  • Three in four kids (76%) say they really enjoy reading books in the summertime, but thirty-four percent of parents say they have to work at encouraging their child to read over the summer. (Page 80 & 82)
  • Parents use many strategies to encourage summer reading, including:
    • Taking kids to the library.
    • Taking books along on vacations or road trips.
    • Stocking up on books for the summer. (Page 83)
  • Only one in three (31%) parents have heard, read or received advice about the summer slide—the loss of skills during the time when students are not in school. (Page 84)
  • Of parents who have heard of the summer slide (31%), 53% heard about it from their child’s teacher or school. (Page 85)

SEE THE DATA

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