Arts Research Monitor articles, category = Reading, writing, publishing and literacy

Summary Report

Based on five research streams (two online public surveys, two sets of focus groups, and key informant interviews), this report summarizes the “current attitudes of English-speaking Canadians about the cultural and economic value of written work”. Many English Canadians spend a significant proportion of their leisure time reading: 80% spend about five to eight hours reading each week, “representing about one-quarter of their overall leisure time”. One-half of respondents indicated that they read books in digital formats. Spending on books is about $300 per purchaser per year, or $250 yearly for each English-Canadian adult, including those who did not buy books during the past year.

This Statistics Canada report examines the direct economic impact of the arts, culture, and heritage in Canada, using methodology that is comparable to other sectors of the economy. Statistics Canada estimates that the direct economic impact of cultural goods and services was $47.8 billion in 2010, or 3.1% of Canada's Gross Domestic Product (GDP). In 2010, there were 647,300 jobs directly related to cultural products, or 3.7% of total employment. The direct economic impact of culture ($47.8 billion) is about 10 times larger than the sports estimate ($4.5 billion).

The National Endowment for the Arts' 2012 Survey of Public Participation in the Arts collected data about the arts activities of more than 37,000 Americans 18 years of age and older. The report provides key arts participation figures.

How interested are Canadians in reading Canadian content?

Based on a survey of 1,005 English-speaking Canadians 18 years of age or older who had bought a book during the month prior to the survey (which was conducted between July and September of 2012), this report finds that only 24% knew that they had read a book by a Canadian author in the past year. In total, 43% of English-speaking Canadian book buyers were unsure whether they had read a book by a Canadian author, while 34% indicated that they knew that they had not done so during the past year.

This study examines “whether music training is associated with higher-level reading abilities such as reading comprehension” in 46 “normal-achieving” children between six and nine years of age. The study finds that “length of music training predicted reading comprehension performance even after controlling for age, socioeconomic status, auditory perception, full scale IQ, the number of hours that children spent reading per week, and word decoding skills”. Unlike previous research, the study did not find a correlation between music training and word decoding skills.

(Le développement des pratiques culturelles chez les enfants)

The most basic conclusion of this report from Quebec’s cultural observatory is that mothers who read tend to have children who read. The analysis is based on the Quebec Longitudinal Study of Child Development (QLSCD), a yearly survey of a representative sample of parents of children born in Quebec in 1997-1998.

Based on a survey of 1,001 Canadians 18 or older in June and July of 2012, this report examines Canadians’ attendance and personal involvement in the arts, culture, and heritage, as well as their perceptions regarding cultural activities and government support of culture.

In the consumer book market, a February 2012 survey (National Book Count) found that "e-book sales comprised 10% of all books sold in English Canada. Public libraries reported that 3% of their circulation comprised digital formats. This finding puts English Canada near the very top of international estimates on e-reading." Another survey (fall 2012) reported that e-book sales represent about 16% of all books sold in Canada, with paperbacks representing 57% of the market and hardcovers 24%.

Executive Summary

Based on a literature review and consultation with 250 arts practitioners and cultural workers, this report examines the impact of digital technologies on human resources in the cultural sector. The report argues that, "as the Canadian economy continues to move toward a knowledge-based economy, the creativity exhibited by the cultural sector will only increase in importance".

This report examines the arts, culture and heritage activities of provincial residents in 2010, with comparisons to previous surveys in 1992, 1998 and 2005. Based on Statistics Canada's General Social Surveys in these years, the report finds that:

  • "All residents in each province participated in at least one arts, culture or heritage activity in 2010."

  • "In all provinces, participation in many arts, culture and heritage activities has increased over the past 18 years."