Henry and children’s booksThe Scotsman newspaper reported Saturday that children of an age to start reading the Harry Potter series apparently no longer have any use for the books – or any books, really – and have “ditched” them. Remembering that the “children” who began the HP series in the 90s are now in their teens or twenties, the next generation of children – those who are reaching an age in which they’d begin the series now, aren’t quite so enamored of J.K. Rowling’s books.

The Scotsman‘s reporter writes of the results of the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study, a 40-nation survey of children’s reading habits and reading ability, and says that:

Results show the next generation of young readers are not as enthralled in the books as children who were brought up on Harry Potter and as a result Scottish children have recently lost confidence in their reading ability. . . The survey also determined the most important reason for improved literacy among children was how often they read alone.

Judith Gillespie, development manager for the Scottish Parent Teacher Council, said: “There was a huge surge in reading for enjoyment when the first survey was done. JK Rowling was generally hailed as having reintroduced reading for children as a fun activity. That generation of Potter must-haves has grown up.”

However, it may well be that HP is not the only force at work – plus, you can’t depend on a single series of books, no matter how popular, to transform young people’s reading habits. The U.S. National Endowment for the Arts’ survey, To Read or Not to Read, shows exactly the same kind of movement – that the current generation of children, particularly once they hit puberty, are reading fewer books and spending more time in front of both their TV sets and the Net.

So it’s not just happening in the USA – kids everywhere need librarians to invade the classes in nearby schools and do some serious booktalking.