World Book Day survey reveals children’s reading habits

Schoolchildren shun challenging books as they get older, report suggests

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Today marks the 16th annual World Book Day, and as global bookworms gear up for a day-long celebration of the written word, a survey has shone a light on the reading habits of British schoolchildren.

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What Kids Are Reading 2013 studied over 300,000 students, finding that while many younger children were enthusiastic about taking on reading challenges, their passion wanes they grow older.

Professor Keith Topping’s research found that year 3 students (aged 7 or 8) have an average reading age of 8.8, but by the time they got to year 9 (13 and 14 yeas old) this had slipped to 10, well behind their actual age.

The study also found that girls were reading books with a higher difficulty level than boys across three out of eight age groups tested, while for the other five, the difficulty level was equal for both sexes.

When asked which authors’ work they had read recently, Roald Dahl and Jeff Kinney both took the top spot with equal numbers of mentions by the schoolchildren, after which Roderick Hunt, Francesca Simon, J.K. Rowling and Allen Ahlberg all made an appearance.

Barbara Band, Vice President of the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals has commented, “This report shows the positive impact that guiding children to the right reading can have on encouraging reading for pleasure and developing essential literacy skills.”

Is your child a mini Matilda or do you need a little help to get her nose stuck in a book? Check out our library of reading materials for mums including ways to teach your child to read, free downloadable reading activities, a parent’s guide to phonics and the 100 best books for babies and children.

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