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Book Reading Habits in the Digital Age Study Released

September 30, 2010
NEW YORK, NY—Sept. 29, 2010—In the "2010 Kids and Family Reading Report," a national survey released today, children age 6–17 and their parents share their views on a wide range of topics regarding reading in the 21st Century.

The study, conducted by Scholastic, the global children’s publishing, education and media company; and Harrison Group, a leading marketing and strategic research consulting firm; found that from age 6-17, the time kids spend reading books for fun declines while the time kids spend going online for fun and using a cell phone to text or talk increases. Parents express concern that the use of electronic and digital devices negatively affects the time kids spend reading books (41%), doing physical activities (40%), and engaging with family (33%).

The study also found indications that technology could be a positive motivator to get kids reading—57% of kids (age 9-17) say they are interested in reading an eBook, and a third of children age 9-17 say they would read more books for fun if they had access to eBooks on an electronic device. This includes kids who read 5-7 days per week (34%), 1-4 days per week (36%) and even those who read less than one day per week (27%).

The findings from the "Kids and Family Reading Report" indicate that the eBook market will continue to grow. While only 6% of parents surveyed currently own an electronic device used for reading eBooks and other digital publications, 16% plan to purchase one in the next year. And parents are not hesitant to share those devices with their children – approximately 8 in 10 (83%) of these parents say they do or will allow/encourage their child to use their eReading device.

"While parents understandably have concerns about the amount of time their kids are spending on electronic or digital devices, ebooks offer a way to get more kids reading and kids reading more," said Francie Alexander, Chief Academic Officer. "If we can meet kids where they are and get a third of all kids, many of them struggling readers, to spend more time reading for fun on eBooks, that additional time spent building fluency and vocabulary will not only help them become more proficient at reading, but will help prepare them to tackle more complex texts that they will encounter in high school and college."

Eighty-four percent of parents acknowledge that today's kids have to know how to handle far more information than parents did when they were children. Yet one disturbing statistic suggests a need to strengthen the critical thinking skills of today's children—39% of kids (age 9-17) agree with the statement, "The information I find online is always correct."
 

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