By Joseph Staples // SWNS
Does your kid read a lot? A new study suggests they’re likely happier, more physically active, have a more active imagination and even problem-solve better than kids that rarely or never read.
The poll of 1,500 American parents and 500 K–6 teachers revealed 91% of children aged 5 – 12 who are avid readers are also happier than those who don’t (36%). Likewise, 92% who read frequently are more physically active than those who don’t (40%).
Kids who read “often” and “very often” generally have a more active imagination than those who rarely or never read (95%, compared to 57%).
Children who read more also take a more proactive approach to resolving negative situations and problems: while 49% who rarely read don’t attempt to resolve difficult situations, 52% who read often attempt to resolve the situation themselves and 69% who read very often turn to their parents for help.
Commissioned by the digital reading platform Epic and conducted by OnePoll, the study uncovered the average child reads five books per month, both inside and outside of school, and 54% read a new book at least weekly.
Reading was found to have a profound impact on what children want to do with their lives, too. Over half of parents surveyed (55%) said their children like to pretend-play based on what they read.
A large majority of parents (85%) agreed reading can unlock their children’s potential later on in life and 61% believe their kids would read more if they didn’t have to physically go to a bookstore or library to get books.
Three in five parents said their kids have shared what they want to be when they grow up, including being a doctor or nurse (23%), teacher (16%) or scientist (15%).
For over a quarter of kids (27%), their professional aspirations were inspired by the books they read or listen to.
“The role books play in a child’s life is practically immeasurable,” said Kevin Donahue, Co-founder at Epic. “It’s so much more than a way to learn about the world around us. For children, it’s a world all on its own — full of inspiration that can show kids what lies in store for them in the future as adults.”
The survey, which also polled 500 teachers, revealed further insights on a child’s reading habits inside school.
Over half (56%) confirmed that the kids in their class collectively have a “favorite” book they flock to, with the most popular genres being adventure books (41%), picture books (38%), fantasy books (36%) and comics/graphic novels (36%).
On average, students spend 35 minutes reading throughout the school day, outside of textbooks. Still, 40% of teachers don’t feel like their students are spending enough time reading during a typical school day.
In order to encourage reading outside of school, teachers shared their favorite methods of motivation: encouraging them to visit their local library (66%), rewarding them with in-class points (60%) and encouraging them to use digital reading platforms (49%).
Over three-quarters (77%) use digital reading as a way to encourage reluctant readers to read more and 53% believe digital reading has helped students catch up after pandemic-era learning loss.
“What’s truly encouraging is how reading has evolved beyond just a physical book,” continued Kevin Donahue. “We live in a digital age and we’re able to take the contents of physical bookshelves and put them in the hands of a child.
“For so many kids, the motivation to read more simply comes from access — giving them the access they need will cause them to read more, learn more, and be inspired to do more.”
TOP FIVE WAYS PARENTS ENCOURAGE KIDS TO READ MORE
- Have more books around the house - 26%
- Take them to the library - 23%
- Bring books in the car - 13%
- Let them read on my phone or tablet - 11%
- Bring books on vacation - 10%
TOP FIVE WAYS TEACHERS ENCOURAGE KIDS TO READ MORE
- Encourage them to visit their local library - 66%
- Reward them with in-class points - 60%
- Encourage them to use digital reading platforms - 49%
- Host a classroom party - 34%
- Hold in-class reading contests - 31%
This random double-opt-in survey of 1,500 American parents of children aged 5 – 12 and 500 American teachers of grades K – 6 was commissioned by Epic between July 20 and July 27, 2023. It was conducted by market research company OnePoll, whose team members are members of the Market Research Society and have corporate membership to the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) and the European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research (ESOMAR).