I was thinking about the proportions of children describing themselves as average and enthusiastic readers altering with age. And I wonder if they considered the 'cool' factor in assessing this change with age in proportion of those describing themselves in these terms. 


As young people become teens the caché of reading decreases and young people may feel that it is not cool to ADMIT TO being an enthusiastic reader. I remember clearly that by the age of 12-13 in secondary school, someone who was openly seen to read incessantly, like myself, was considered nerdy. I wonder how many of the older children who describe themselves as average were actually reading rather a lot but were reluctant to say so openly. Contrast this with the younger readers who are just developing for whom the skill of reading - an older person's ability - is considered something they really wish to attain.


Best wishes


Gaby Koenig

Librarian for Children and Young People

Slough Library



-----Original Message-----
From: Academic discussion of all aspects of children's literature [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Sally Maynard
Sent: 31 May 2007 15:12
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: "Young People's Reading in 2005: The Second Study of Young People's Reading Habits"


**With apologies for cross-posting**


Report reveals young people's reading habits

Harry Potter and Lemony Snicket continue to woo today's youth, but interest in reading declines as children age, according to a new report.

Young People's Reading in 2005: The Second Study of Young People's Reading Habits, describes a survey of what young people in England are reading, and what they say their reading means to them.

The joint study by Sally Maynard, Sophie Mackay, Fiona Smyth and Kimberley Reynolds, published by Roehampton University and funded by the Arts Council, looks into what children like to read, rather than their reading ability, covering issues such as how children come into contact with all kinds of reading matter, from comics and magazines to fiction and non-fiction books, to their preferences for favourite books and authors, and their satisfaction with the kinds of publications available.

Also included is data on the kinds of people influencing young people's choice of reading matter, how young readers select what to read, where children buy what they read and the place of reading in relation to other out of school/leisure activities.

The survey enjoyed the participation of 22 primary and 24 secondary schools and drew some intriguing and varied conclusions, including:


*         magazines are important as reading material for pleasure and as a source of information to both                                 boys and girls


*         a noteworthy proportion of the respondents enjoyed reading non-fiction for pleasure as well as for schoolwork. However, this kind of reading material was of more significance to the boys than to the girls, particularly for the purposes of pleasure


*         series books are currently relatively popular, with respondents of all ages; this popularity increased with the age of participants. It reflects the success of series such as the Harry Potter books, Lemony Snicket's Series of Unfortunate Events and Anthony Horowitz's books about Alex Rider


Researchers said it was disappointing to learn that the proportion of children rating themselves as 'enthusiastic' readers (reading a lot, with pleasure) decreased as the children got older.

More encouraging, however, was the fact that the proportion rating themselves as 'average' (reading an ordinary amount) did in fact increase with age. An overwhelming finding of the survey is that reading is clearly one of many activities enjoyed by the children responding to this survey. It is perhaps fighting for its place amongst these other activities, and in some cases it is being usurped by the more visual technologies, particularly for the boys.

This joint project was instigated by Professor Kim Reynolds, now Professor of Children's Literature at Newcastle University, and completed by Dr. Sally Maynard of LISU, Loughborough University. Dr. Gillian Lathey, Director of the National Centre for Research in Children's Literature and the NCRCL team are pleased to announce a significant contribution to the research into all aspects of children's literature which is at the heart of the Centre's work.

For further information:
Please contact: Christine Cain
Press and PR Manager
Ph: 0208 392 3181 Mob: 0791 351 5063
email: [log in to unmask]

To purchase a copy of the report please e-mail Polymnia Lakiotaki: [log in to unmask]


Dr Sally Maynard
Research Fellow, LISU and
Editor, "New Review of Children's Literature and Librarianship"                      
Loughborough University     
Leicestershire   LE11 3TU

E-mail: [log in to unmask]

Tel: +44 (0)1509 635689
Fax: +44 (0)1509 635699

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