Kids embrace reading in a digital age

The perception that kids don't like to read may well be history. According to this month's LiveWire study, reading for...
April 1, 1999

The perception that kids don’t like to read may well be history. According to this month’s LiveWire study, reading for

pleasure is alive and well in kids’ lives, and they are investing quality time in turning the pages of their favorite books and magazines.

What we found:

Reading rates a ’10′

When asked to rate reading on a scale of one to 10, more than half of our panelists gave reading a perfect 10, with a number of kids giving it a cautious 9.5. Overall, the vast majority of our panel gave reading a rating of six or higher. How often do our kids read for pleasure? A healthy seven times a week was the most popular answer given by both boys and girls, and more than half of our panelists read for pleasure every day.

Kids know what they like

We wanted to know what they are reading-whether they bury their heads in magazines, comic books or novels. Here, the answers differed for boys and girls. Boys tend to focus primarily on fiction and nonfiction, with little or no attention given to magazines or newspapers. Girls, however, are more diverse readers, giving equal amounts of time to fiction, nonfiction, magazines and newspapers. The tendency to read comic books is very low for both boys and girls.

Kid-awareness of specific book titles and authors was very high. Nearly three-quarters of the kids on our panel were quick to name a favorite author. More than a fifth of the boys cited R.L. Stine, author of the Goosebumps series. The girls gave multiple answers, mentioning old favorites such as Judy Blume and Beverly Cleary, as well as a number of new authors such as Lois Lowry, author of The Giver.

Series are hot, clubs are not

Book series scored very high among our panelists, with most of our kids currently reading a specific series. Animorphs and Goosebumps were the most popular series among the boys. The Babysitter’s Club series won accolades from the girls.

Magazines written just for kids scored big, as well. When asked to name their favorite mags, an overwhelming majority of our panel cited publications aimed specifically at the young reader. Both Boys’ Life and American Girl ranked high, as well as Nickelodeon, Highlights and Sports Illustrated for Kids. A surprise favorite for both boys and girls was National Geographic, coming in as number one on the boys’ list and fourth on the girls’ list. It is also interesting to note that our panel of girls ages eight to 12 is not yet stepping up to publications such as Teen People, Jump or Twist.

Although kids clubs in general are hot, book clubs have not reached a very popular status with our panelists. Only a very small percentage of our panel belong to a book club.

What kids said:

Beverly Cleary’s Ramona character loved Sustained Silent Reading, and so do today’s kids. . . In the fast-paced kid world, where multitasking is a must, reading reigns as a stand-alone activity. The kids on our panel overwhelmingly chose to read without the distractions of listening to music or eating. In fact, most kids enjoy the quiet, relaxing alone time reading has to offer:

‘I enjoy reading for many reasons. I learn new things and open new doors through reading. I also get to see through people’s lives at certain time periods and see what they went through.’

Ari, 9, Pennsylvania

‘I like to learn about things that I haven’t done yet. It’s a relaxing way for me to end the day. I like to read in bed with my cat. I also read in the car, and always have a book with me when we go out. I like to talk about the books I read with my friends.’

Abbey, 12, Massachusetts

‘I enjoy reading because it is like being there in the story. The story takes me places I cannot go in real life.’

Michael, 8, Washington

‘I like reading because it helps me learn new words.

It gives me new things to think about, and it makes me think

about new places and ideas.’

Murphy Ann, 10, Hawaii

Next month:

KidThink plugs in to kids and their favorite video games.

Kid Think Inc., a youth marketing consulting group, investigates a wide range of issues in kids’ lives. Kid Think talks with kids via LiveWire: Today’s Families Online,

a proprietary panel of more than 1,100 on-line families across the United States. Both Kid Think and LiveWire are divisions of Griffin Bacal, a New York-based communications agency specializing in the youth and family markets. If you have any questions or subjects you would like Kid Think to cover, call Paul Kurnit at 212-415-2992 o

r e-mail

About The Author


Brand Menu