Research: Kids reading fewer websites, more ebooks

In the UK, 7.8 percent of schoolchildren aged nine and up read e-books outside of class last year, according to new research.

That rate is up from 5.6 percent a year earlier, according to the National Literacy Trust’s “Children’s Reading Today” survey (release).

The survey of kids from 128 UK schools gives an insight in to how the next generation is using various platforms to read…

It shows that: “Since 2005, reading across all formats has fallen – with the exception of text messages.”

Remarkably, that trend even goes for websites. Whilst 64 percent of schoolchildren said they read the web out of class in 2005, that dropped to 50 percent in 2011.

“This is not simply about young people shifting their reading patterns from paper to digital as technology-based reading (such as reading of websites and emails) also decreased,” the National Literacy Trust’s report says.

The report does not explain the drop. It does not appear that ebook reading has displaced web reading.

Kids have turned away from magazines, comic books, newspapers and poetry at the fatest rate. But readership of websites, blogs, social networks and fiction rose again over the last year…

To some, the results do not bode well for literary readership. The proportion of kids who read daily has fallen by seven percent since 2005 to 30.8 percent. Nearly a fifth (17%) would be embarrassed if their friends saw them reading, while 54 percent said they would rather watch TV.

The trust worries: “Children are reading less as their lives get more crowded. In 2005, four young people in 10 read daily outside of class. Today, only three young people in 10 read daily in their own time.”

But the proportion of schoolchildren who say they enjoy reading, whatever the medium, has remained largely stable at 50.2 percent.