Study: Kids Believe Technology Will Supplement—Not Replace—Book Reading, Printed Books Will Endure


Tweens and Teens who Participate in Online Activities Are More Likely to Read Books for Fun Daily


New York, NY – June 11, 2008 – A new study released today finds 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,” and 62% of kids surveyed say they prefer to read books printed on paper rather than on a computer or a handheld device. The Kids & Family Reading Report ™, a national survey of children age 5-17 and their parents, also found that kids who go online to extend the reading experience – by going to book or author websites or connecting with other readers – are more likely to read books for fun every day. 

The 2008 Kids & Family Reading Report, a follow up to a similar 2006 study, both of which were conducted by Scholastic, the global children’s publishing, education and media company, and TSC, a division of Yankelovich, a leader in consumer trends research, again found that the time kids spend reading books for fun declines after age eight and continues to drop off through the teen years. 

“This year, we wanted to investigate the role technology plays in the drop-off in reading books for fun after age eight, and what we found surprised us,” said Heather Carter, Director of Corporate Research, Scholastic. “Despite the fact that after age eight, more children go online daily than read for fun daily, high frequency Internet users are more likely to read books for fun every day.  That suggests that parents and teachers can tap into kids’ interest in going online to spark a greater interest in reading books.”

The study also found that two-thirds of kids age 9-17 who go online have extended the reading experience via the Internet.  These online reading extenders say they learn what other people think about a book, learn new things about an author and connect with other readers. 

“Kids are very forward-thinking about ways technology can complement book reading,” said Kristen Harmeling, Senior Researcher at Yankelovich. “They envision a time when most books are read digitally and when they can tag and share parts of books with other people online, making online reading a gateway to social activities; yet they still want printed books.”

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. 

“Parent engagement in their child’s reading from birth all the way through the teen years can have a significant impact on how often their children read and how much they enjoy reading,” added Carter.

A video presentation of the results from The Kids & Family Reading Report is available at
The following are additional key findings from the survey:

Kids and Reading:
• Kids overwhelming (89%) say “My favorite books are the ones I picked out myself.”
• Sixty-eight percent of kids say they love or like reading books for fun a lot (72% of girls/ 63% of boys).
• Half of all kids say there aren’t enough really good books for boys/girls their age.

Technology and Reading:
• Both boys and girls (age 9-17) say that they prefer to read books rather than read things on the Internet when they want to use their imagination (63% vs. 37%).  
• Boys are more likely to say the Internet is better than books when they want to read for fun (54% vs. 46%).  Girls choose books (63% vs. 37%).
• Two in three children believe that within the next 10 years, most books which are read for fun will be read digitally – either on a computer or on another kind of electronic device.

Parents’ Role:

• 82% of parents say they wish kids would read books for fun more often.
• Parents who read books for fun daily are six times more likely than low frequency reading parents to have kids who also read for fun daily.
• Parents are a key source of book suggestions for their children, but nearly half of all parents say they have a hard time finding information about books their child would enjoy reading, and especially parents of teens age 15-17 (62%).

The Kids and Family Reading Report is a national survey of 1002individuals -- 501 children ages 5 to 17 years old and one parent or primary guardian per child.  Interviews took place through mall-intercepts in 25 major cities across the country from January through February 2008.  The survey was designed and analyzed by the staffs at Scholastic and Yankelovich.  Quotas for gender and children’s age were established to ensure ample base sizes for analysis purposes.

About Yankelovich, Inc.
Yankelovich is a leading consumer market research and analytics company that has helped marketers understand consumer values and behavior since 1958.  The Segmentation Company (TSC), a division of Yankelovich, is a full-service custom research division conducting research for business, the media, associations, and government.  It specializes in studies conducted for media release as well as in segmentation research, positioning studies, brand equity, and market sizing.  The Yankelovich brand name is widely recognized by Fortune 1000 marketers as a leading source of consumer insights.  More information is available at:

About Scholastic
Scholastic Corporation (NASDAQ: SCHL) is the world’s largest publisher and distributor of children’s books and a leader in educational technology and children’s media. Scholastic creates quality educational and entertaining materials and products for use in school and at home, including children's books, magazines, technology-based products, teacher materials, television programming, film, videos and toys. The Company distributes its products and services through a variety of channels, including proprietary school-based book clubs and school-based book fairs, retail stores, schools, libraries, television networks and the Company’s Internet site

Visit for the Scholastic 2008 Kids and Family Reading Report™.

Kyle Good

Sara Sinek

Kristen Harmeling