Henry & library booksTake a look at this new Scholastic-funded study described on CNNMoney, which I heartily endorse because (hooray) it verifies something I’ve known for a long time. It says that “75% of kids age 5-17 agree with the statement, ‘No matter what I can do online, I’ll always want to read books printed on paper…'”

We library folks know this, and we always have. We see kids checking out books every day. But I don’t think the average American who doesn’t spend his or her day around kids sees it quite as clearly. What I find especially interesting are these core findings:

One in four kids age 5-17 say they read books for fun every day and more than half of kids say they read books for fun at least two to three times a week. One of the key reasons kids say they don’t read more often is that they have trouble finding books they like — a challenge that parents underestimate. Kids who struggle to find books they like are far less likely to read for fun daily or even twice a week.

The 2008 Kids & Family Reading Report also found that parents have a strong influence over kids’ reading. They overwhelmingly view reading as the most important skill a child needs to develop, but only about half of all parents begin reading to their child before their first birthday. The percent of children who are read to every day drops from 38% among 5-8 year olds to 23% among 9-11 year olds. This is the same time that kids’ daily reading for fun starts to decline.

Again, not news for us librarians who know kids. But it’s reassuring to read it all the same; it’s a good antidote to all the stuff we keep seeing about how people are reading books less and Googling the Net more. Yet I sure wish that the researchers had also asked these kids whether they went to the library and asked the librarian for help finding great stuff to read.

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