Children are more likely to read when they choose their own books: Scholastic India research report

Scholastic India, part of the global children’s publishing, education and media company Scholastic Inc., today released the findings of its first-ever Kids & Family Reading ReportTM, India Edition, a national survey of Indian children aged 6–17 years and their parents, plus parents of children aged 0–5, aimed at exploring attitudes and behaviours around reading books for fun. The survey reveals that 86 per cent of children aged 6–17 years agree that “my favourite books are the ones that I have picked out myself.” Eighty-eight per cent of boys and 86 per cent of girls equally agree, “I would read more if I could find more books that I like.” The majority of children, 81 per cent, in this critical age group enjoy reading books for fun and more than three-quarters, 77 per cent, of children believe reading books for fun is extremely or very important. While the report also shares that 92 per cent of children are reading books for fun at least once a week, only 32 per cent are reading 5–7 days a week.

Speaking on the report findings, Neeraj Jain, Managing Director, Scholastic India said, “The love of reading books can transform a child’s prospects for success and the findings of the Kids & Family Reading Report, India Edition underscore the importance of reading for pleasure while also providing insight into how we can encourage even more children to read more frequently. At Scholastic India, we believe in the power of choice when it comes to reading and we motivate children to read their choice of books because it helps them develop a love for reading as well as expand their knowledge and vocabulary.”

The survey was conducted among 1,752 parents and children, including 350 parents of children aged 0–5; 701 parents of children aged 6–17; plus one child aged 6–17 from the same household. All data presented in the Kids & Family Reading ReportTM, India Edition represent the country’s English-speaking population with access to the Internet. The US editions of the survey have been conducted biannually since 2006. Additionally, versions have been released in the United Kingdom and Australia in the past year.

Importance of reading aloud

Parents play a huge role in seeding the love for reading, and in keeping kids interested in books. One of the most powerful predictors of reading frequency in children aged 6–17 is being read to by parents 5–7 days a week. Across all ages, 85 per cent of children love being read to aloud, and among kids aged 6–11 whose parents have stopped reading aloud to them, more than half, 57 per cent, wish their parents had continued.

Parents of children aged 0–5 shared that the top benefit they want for their child when they read books for fun is development of vocabulary and language skills. Similarly, these parents primarily start reading aloud to their children to help them learn about letters and words. Half of the parents surveyed with 0–5 year-olds received the advice that children should be read books aloud from birth, most commonly from their child’s grandparents. Overall, only 27 per cent of parents started reading aloud to their children before age one, and 60 per cent began reading books aloud to their child at two years or older.

Reading in school encourages frequent reading

The survey findings show that children who are given time for independent reading at school are more likely to be frequent readers, yet only half of children aged 6–17 have the opportunity to do so as a class or school. More, only 11 per cent read a book of their choice independently every school day. Nearly three-quarters, 72 per cent, of children express positive feelings about independent reading time at school and more than four in ten, 45 per cent, feel that reading time is one of their favourite parts of the school day. The Kids & Family Reading Report, India Edition also revealed that while 53 per cent of children aged 6–17 years read books for fun mostly out of school, an additional 32 per cent read at home and school about equally, and 13 per cent read for fun mostly in school.
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Reading paper books

As ebooks are becoming more accessible, the Kids & Family Reading Report, India Edition finds that 64 per cent of children 6–17 years have read an ebook and among children who have not read an ebook, six in ten express an interest in reading ebooks. Yet the survey indicates that despite the embrace of ebooks, more than four in ten children, 44 per cent, who have read an ebook prefer to read print books. The vast majority of children, 80 per cent, agree that they will always want to read print books, even though there are ebooks available.

Most ebook reading is done at home, as 54 per cent of children read ebooks at home, followed by 18 per cent who read ebooks at the library; 15 per cent at school and 15 percent at a friend’s house.

Scholastic India is part of the world’s largest publisher and distributor of children’s books, Scholastic Inc. To foster the habit of reading in children and youth, Scholastic India provides unique programs through book clubs and book fairs organized across schools in all communities. Scholastic India donates hundreds of thousands of books every year to make reading accessible to underprivileged children in connection with the Scholastic annual program, One Nation Reading Together.

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