The 2014 report (released in 2015) of 32,026 children in grades 3 to 11 suggests some interesting trends:
- Levels of enjoyment have risen with 54.5% enjoying reading quite a lot.
- Daily reading rates have increased substantially with a 28.6% increase in children who read outside the class on a daily basis.
- Twice as many children read outside the class for fun each day (now 29.6%).
- Except for magazines all forms of reading increased, with musical lyrics (50.3%), text messages (72.6%), websites (60.2%) and social networking being the highest (53.6%). Interestingly, 46.7% of all children read fiction at least once a month outside class.
- The majority of children said they have a favourite book (61.0%).
- Girls continue to be the most devoted readers
- Girls and boys read different material outside school - more girls than boys read computer-based formats.
- Children who enjoyed reading are three times more likely to read above their appropriate level than children who do not enjoy reading (34.9% compared to 10.7%).
#1 Work hard to connect children with books that they will enjoy - try to supply books that match interests, that are at an appropriate level, and provide time and space in their lives to read.
#2 Help children to manage their time so that they have time to read - this might require us to restrict screen time for activities those activities that offer only limited reading opportunities.
#3 Provide opportunities for children to experience many forms of reading - books, careful use of social media for class, group and exchange with students in other places. Create varied opportunities for reading magazines, graphic novels, books, music, non-fiction, poetry, cultural texts (e.g. advertising, news, political posters).
#4 Show interest in the things children read - talk to them about their reading, ask them to share what they are reading and why, engage with them concerning the content of their reading and their interests.
#5 Encourage opportunities for children to share their reading interests - try discussion groups on specific texts or genres, one-on-one reading conferences, 'dining room table' discussions with small groups of students (as developed by Nancie Atwell).
#6 Help children to become writers as well - reading feeds writing and writing feeds reading. Get children excited about both by allowing them to take greater control and by supporting them at every step. Encourage them to write for real readers and try to establish ways for others to read their writing as well.
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