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Kids and Family Reading Report

Canadian Edition

February 26, 202026 February 2020

Reading / writing / publishing and literacy

Scholastic and YouGov

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Based on a survey of 1,939 parents and children, this report explores “the attitudes and behaviours of English and French-speaking Canadian children and families around reading books for fun”. The research team found that a large majority (86%) of children between six and 17 “are currently reading or have just finished reading a book for fun”, and that one-third of children in that age range are “frequent readers” who read at least five days per week. Girls are more likely to be frequent readers (38%) than boys (30%).

The survey sample consisted of 371 parents of children five years of age or younger, 784 parents of children between six and 17, and one child between six and 17 from the same households (i.e., 784 children in total). The report notes that “to ensure proper demographic representation within the sample, final data were weighted according to the benchmark distributions of child gender within each of three age groups (0–5, 6–11 and 12–17), within each region”. The report does not provide a margin of error for the sample but does state that “it is safe to assume that any difference of 6–8 points or more between subgroups is statistically significant at the 90% or 95% confidence level” (i.e., 18 or 19 times out of 20).

The survey found that almost all parents (98%) of children five years of age or younger indicated that reading aloud to their children was “extremely important” in developing a child’s language skills.

After age five, parental involvement in reading decreases, and other activities take precedence:

  • 65% of parents read aloud to children between three and five years of age at least five days a week. However, “the frequency of reading aloud drops significantly after age 5 (41%) and again after age 8 (16%)”. Of note, a majority of children between six and eight (58%) said they wanted reading aloud to continue.
  • As children age, reading for fun starts to “lose out to other activities”: 50% of children between six and eight read for fun at least five days a week, but only 25% of teens between 15 and 17 do so.

Regarding parental involvement, the survey found that:

  • “Parents’ reading habits play a large role in determining how often kids read: 57% of kids who are frequent readers have parents who read books 5 to 7 days a week, compared to only 15% of kids who are infrequent readers.”
  • On average, families reported having 80 books in the home. Frequent readers’ homes have about twice as many books (118) as the homes of infrequent readers (61).

Children indicated that their favourite books were ones they picked out themselves, with almost all (92%) agreeing that “they are more likely to finish a book they picked out”. When asked what kind of books they prefer to read for fun, 46% of children selected “books that make me laugh”. Other common responses were “books that explore places and worlds I’ve never been” (32%), and “books that make me think and feel” (29%).

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