Scholastic released the results from its 2010 Kids and Family Reading Report today. The study surveyed children age 6 to 17, along with their parents, and the results point to the changing ways in which kids view reading (and by extension, the way in which both education and publishers may have to adjust to meet kids' expectations).

Some of the results aren't terribly surprising: between the ages of 6 and 17, the amount of time kids spend reading declines, and the time they spend online and on cellphones increases. And in turn, parents are concerned that kids' use of electronic devices is negatively affecting the amount of time spent reading, doing physical activities, and spending time with the family.

But beyond what feels like a pretty common gripe about technology (in my case, my parents would've complained about the time I spent talking the land line phone in lieu of talking to them), the study does reveal some interesting insights into kids' reactions to new reading tools, namely e-readers.

57% of kids age 9 to 17 say they're interested in reading via e-books. And a third say they'd read more for fun if they had more access to books on an electronic device. This response cut across demographics and included kids who read daily, once or so a week, and even those who ready rarely.

Only 6% of parents surveyed said they currently own an e-reader, and 16% say they plan to purchase one within the year. And despite some trepidations about the time kids spend in front of computers, 83% of those parents say they'd allow and encourage their kids to use their e-reader.

Kids do say they still enjoy print. 66% agreed with the statement, "I'll always want to read books printed on paper even though there are ebooks."

Despite an increasing interest in e-readers, the study pointed to a changing definition among children of what constitutes "reading." 25% of kids think texting back and forth with friends counts as reading (only 8% of parents think similarly). 28% of kids think that looking through postings or comments on social networking sites like Facebook counts as reading, and (wow) 15% of parents agree.

No matter the definition, 75% of kids admitted: they know they should read more.

Audrey Watters


Hack Education

The History of the Future of Education Technology

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