Earlier this month, Scholastic published the 5th edition of their bi-annual report on children’s reading frequency, preferences and attitudes. This report is one of just a few critical resources for anyone trying to make sense of the changing demographics and trends for young readers.
We discussed the survey last Sunday, January 25, 2015 on #StoryAppChat with our regular guests from the publishing industry. You can see our Storify transcript here:
Read the full report here:
It is important to remember that this is self-reported data, based on survey results from hundreds of families in the US. Data from reports like this can be both illuminating AND potentially full of sampling errors.
Most studies do not survey the same people for each wave of a longitudinal survey like this. This type of research also involves surveying children, something I did regularly as a research consultant on social work projects at the University of Washington. Based on my experience collecting data from kids, via computer surveys and crunching data as a researcher, I can tell you without hesitation that is an ART as well as a SCIENCE.
As social scientists, we crave clearer and more substantial data but we’re dealing with very messy subjects when it comes to kids. The restrictions on what you can ask a minor in human subjects approved research is one of the many barriers I’ve seen, and they shape research. Nothing is ‘pure’ in social science research – nothing can be double-blind.
But then again, social science research presents us with the most valuable ‘clues’ (not hard facts) about what is happening, why and where the trends might be headed. In the case of this Scholastic report, it also gives us a good look at the current state of affairs when it comes to kids & reading, but it is only a snapshot in a moment of time. It is especially useful for guiding future research. What questions does it make you want to ask next?
Some findings in this study will take many years (and subsequent surveying) to guess at the real long-term implications and trends to watch. And I, for one, will be watching. So, without further ado … the key findings from Scholastics 2014 survey research:
(click on images to see detailed info)
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