I needed a statistic this week for an article I am writing. I turned to a fascinating book, Creating Lifelong Readers Through Independent Reading, to find it and found the numbers I needed and more.
I was searching for the decline in ‘reading for pleasure’ seen over the years. But don’t fear-the story I was writing was not a sad one. As frequent readers of this blog know, there is an easy solution for this decline. Reading aloud and independent reading.
But just to share these alarming stats…
The 2001 Progress in International Reading Literacy Study, an assessment of reading comprehension and reading habits of fourth graders in 35 countries (including the United States), found the following trends:
- Only 35% of U.S. fourth graders reported reading for fun daily.
- An average of 40% of fourth graders internationally read for fun daily.
- Thirty-two percent of U.S. fourth graders reported never reading fun outside of school.
- An average of 18% of international fourth graders never read for fun outside of school.
Now as a life-long reader, this is clearly alarming just because it is.
But lack of reading for fun has significant ramifications educationally as well. Again, it’s simple. The more you read, the easier reading is for you. The easier reading is for you, the more you want to read. And so it goes…
Again found in Creating Lifelong Readers Through Independent Reading, Cunnningham and Stanovich state in their article for American Educator, What Reading Does for the Mind
A child who reads abundantly develops greater reading skills, a larger vocabulary, and more general knowledge about the world. In return [the child has] increased reading comprehension and, therefore, enjoys more pleasurable reading experiences and is encouraged to read even more.
So in case you were looking for more reasons to stack those bedtime tables with more summer reading books, there you go…