More than 60 per cent of children aged six to 17 are not frequent readers, a national study reveals.
The Kids & Family Reading Report, commissioned by children's publisher Scholastic Australia and conducted by online market research company YouGov, also finds that children who are given time for independent reading at school are more likely to read frequently for enjoyment. ("Frequent" means reading for enjoyment five to seven days a week.)
However, only 44 per cent of children say they have an opportunity to read independently in school, with as few as 16 per cent given the chance to do this every or almost every school day.
Professor of Education and Culture at the University of Technology, Sydney, Rosemary Johnston, says the report highlights the importance of encouraging children to become frequent readers. "We know that reading not only improves literacy and education; it also improves health, socio-economic status, and creativity," she says.
In other findings:
74 per cent of children would read more if they could find more books they liked
the most powerful predictors of reading frequency are; being read to by parents, reading enjoyment and being told their reading level by their teacher
almost nine in 10 children say they enjoy being read to aloud
of those aged six to eight whose parents no longer read books aloud at home, 51 per cent did not want their parents to stop
kids want books that make them laugh, use their imagination and which contain characters they would like to emulate, and