A startling new study has found that the number children who read for fun is declining — pretty rapidly. The study was released in early January and surveyed a little over 1,000 children between the ages of six and 17.
According to The Guardian, the 2014 Scholastic reading report found that only 51% of children say that they like to read for fun — compared with 60% in 2010.
The survey reveals two other notable trends. One is that children who are read to at home are more likely to read on their own, for fun. The other is that children who have dedicated independent reading time at school are also more likely to pick up a book in their free time.
Reading for fun also seems to decline with age — a little over half of nine-year-olds read daily, while only 17% of 17-year-olds read daily. The study, however, finds that the most drastic decline occurs after the age of eight.
Parents could play a large role in whether or not their children enjoy reading. In 1999, kids between the ages of two and seven were read to an average of 45 minutes a day, but by 2013, that number had dropped to an average of a little more than 30 minutes. Additionally, children are more likely to enjoy reading if their parents read.
“Our research shows that providing encouragement and time both in school and at home for children of all ages to enjoy books they choose to read will help them discover the power and joy of reading,” said Scholastic’s chief academic officer Francie Alexander. “These tactics will also help to motivate kids to read more books, which will improve their skills and open a world of possibilities for them in the future.”