Youth Reading for Fun
- In 2012, 53% of nine-year-olds reported reading almost every day for fun, the same share as in 1984 (Indicator V-03a). This share represents a five percentage point recovery from 2008 (the lowest value on record) but remains below the high point of 58%, reached in 1994.
- Throughout the 1984–2012 time period teenagers were less likely than their elementary-school counterparts to read almost every day for pleasure. In 2012, only 27% of 13-year-olds and 19% of 17-year-olds reported that they read almost every day.
- The share of adolescents who reported reading almost every day shrank from 1984 to 2012, with a drop of eight percentage points among 13-year-olds and an even more pronounced decline of 12 percentage points for 17-year-olds.
- In 1984, the share of teens reporting never or hardly ever reading was not statistically significantly different than among nine-year-olds,2 but by 2012 the disparity was much greater, due to substantial growth in the share of adolescents who rarely read. The share of nine-year-olds who reported never or hardly ever reading expanded slightly, from 9% to 11% over the time period, but the 13-year-old share grew from 8% to 22%, and the 17-year-old share tripled (from 9% to 27%).
- 2Please see the supporting table for information as to which year-to-year changes were found to be statistically significant. As the National Center for Education Statistics explains: “Statistical tests are conducted to determine whether the changes or differences between two result numbers are statistically significant. The term ‘significant’ does not imply a judgment about the absolute magnitude or educational relevance of changes in student performance. Rather, it is used to indicate that the observed changes are not likely to be associated with sampling and measurement error, but are statistically dependable population differences. NAEP uses widely accepted statistical standards in analyzing data. For instance, this website discusses only findings that are statistically significant at the .05 level. However, some differences that are statistically significant appear small, particularly in recent assessment years, when the sample sizes have been larger.” (U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics, “NAEP Glossary of Terms,” https://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/glossary.aspx?nav=y, accessed 12/15/2015.)
* Not every interyear difference is statistically significant. See the supporting table for details.
Source: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics, Digest of Education Statistics, Table 221.30, http://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d14/tables/dt14_221.30.asp?current=ye, accessed 11/15/2015.
“In addition to assessing student achievement in various subjects, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) collects information from students, teachers, and schools in order to provide a more complete understanding of the results and overall student performance. This information is collected through the following: Student questionnaires collect information on students’ demographic characteristics, classroom experiences, and educational support. Teacher questionnaires gather data on teacher training and instructional practices. School questionnaires gather information on school policies and characteristics. The results of these questionnaires help to provide contextual information for the assessments, as well as information about factors that may be related to students’ learning. These results can be analyzed using the NAEP Data Explorer: http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/naepdata.” (U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics, An Introduction to NAEP, NCES 2010-468 [Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 2010]).
As part of the student questionnaire, administered as part of the NAEP long-term trend assessment (LTT) in reading, nine-, 13-, and 17-year-olds were asked the following question about their personal reading practices: "How often do you read for fun on your own time?". The possible responses were: "almost every day"; "once or twice a week"; "once or twice a month"; "a few times a year"; or "never or hardly ever."