Perhaps the rest of the world can take a page from the reading habits of Canadian kids. A new report from global publisher Scholastic, entitled The Kids & Family Reading Report, Canadian Edition, found that Canuck kids read an average of 23 books last year. And 86% of them are currently reading (or just finished reading) a book for fun—even with all of the other entertainment options available to them on TV and online.
Both French- and English-speaking kids ages six to 17—and parents of kids ages zero to five—were interviewed for the survey, which observed children’s books, storylines and characters, the power of choice, diversity, reading aloud, and summer reading.
A whopping 91% of kids and 97% of parents surveyed agreed that being a good reader is important to a child’s future. More than three quarters (76%) of frequent readers said they gained inspiration from books, and 90% of them felt a sense of accomplishment from reading. (Parents who read books five to seven days per week are more to likely to have kids who are frequent readers.)
As with Scholastic’s American Kids & Family Reading Report released earlier this year, Canadian kids admitted that they want more diversity in stories. One in five children and parents look for books with characters that are culturally or ethnically diverse, and 74% of these parents identify diversity in children’s books to mean “people and experiences that are different than those of my child.”
Nearly half of kids (46%) are looking for books that make them laugh, while parents (41%) and kids (39%) also said they are searching for characters who face a challenge and overcome it.
Even as big-screen blockbusters ramp up, 84% of kids and 96% of parents believe in the value of summer reading, and 54% of parents said their kids would read without prompting.
Reading aloud continues to be important, with 93% of six- to eight-year-olds and 87% of parents saying they enjoy it. Parents also said that reading books aloud is one of the most important things they can do for their kids to develop language skills. A full 61% of young kids are read aloud to frequently, but at age five that drops off to 41%, and by age eight to 16%. Interestingly, 58% of kids ages six to eight said they still wanted to be read to, meaning parents may be pulling the plug on story time sessions prematurely.