If you’re curious what makes children avid readers, just take a look. It’s in whatever book they’re currently reading. And if they’re not currently reading, look in the mirror. According to Scholastic’s latest survey, how much parents read — aloud and to themselves — is a major factor in how much your kid reads. If that’s all Scholastic figured out it would hardly be news, but there’s more. Waaaaay more.
Scholastic asked over 2,500 families with kids aged 6-17 detailed questions about their reading habits. They found that among the top predictors for “frequent readers” — kids who read for fun most days of the week — are whether the parents are frequent readers, whether the parents read aloud to the kid 5-7 days per week before the kid entered kindergarten, and whether the child actually believes reading for fun is important. Also in the “So Obvious, Did It Really Require Research?” bucket: digital distractions like social media, computer/video games, and movies are more common among infrequent readers. Less obvious? The average number of books in the homes of avid readers (205), compared to less avid readers (129); it’s common for a kid’s reading enthusiasm to decline at age 8; and 66-percent of infrequent readers say they would read more if they could find something they liked. So, if your own kid isn’t as into the reading as you’d like, there’s the fix: buy a bigger bookshelf, fill it with more book, and keep feeding them options until something sticks.