Only 17% of Parents Say Reading is a Priority for Kids This Summer

David Rogers

Reading is Fundamental Logo


As we get ready to welcome in the official beginning of summer in a couple of days, a new study has some disturbing findings: only 17 percent of parents say reading is a top priority for their children this summer.

The study, from Reading is Fundamental (RIF) and Macy’s (and conducted by Harris Poll), surveyed more than 1,000 parents with children under age 11. There were a couple of more troubling stats reported by the survey:

– The average child spends 17.4 hours per week watching TV and playing video games, but only 5.9 hours a week reading. – More than 60 percent of parents believe their children do not lose reading skills over the summer (while existing research confirms the loss of literacy skills over the summer).

It sounds like we may need to expedite the return of “Reading Rainbow.”

However, the survey news was not all bad – 87 percent of parents read bedtime stories with their children (though only 33 percent do so daily).

“Many families think of reading as eating your vegetables—good for you but not necessarily a treat,” said Carol H. Rasco, CEO of RIF, in a press release. “Reading is the best vacation. It takes you places you never dreamed you would visit, and summer especially is a time when kids can immerse themselves in the topics they like best.”

Of particular interest to us in the book printing industry, the survey finds that the majority of younger readers prefer printed books to ebooks and other digital formats. Of the parents surveyed, 83 percent said their child preferred printed books for summer reading, while 7 percent preferred tablets and 4 preferred ebooks.

The study was done as part of the support for the 11th annual Be Book Smart campaign by Macy’s and RIF. The new campaign, which lasts through July 13, invites Macy’s customers to donate $3 when making an in-store purchase to provide a book for a child. Customers that donate will receive $10 off a purchase of $30 or more. The entire $3 will be given to RIF.