The share of British kids who “love to read” puts the US to shame

Don’t stop.
Don’t stop.
Image: Reuters/Andres Stapff
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It should come as no surprise that the country that brought us William Shakespeare and J.K. Rowling is a nation of readers. What is surprising, however, is how much British kids love to read, especially compared with their US counterparts.

A whopping 80% of British kids ages 6-8 love to read, compared with 62% of American kids of the same age, according to new data from Scholastic, which polls more than 2,500 parents and children a year in the US, UK, and Australia:

Likewise, British kids lead the way in three out of four age groups when it comes to frequent reading:

A separate survey of 2,000 parents by Explore Learning, a tutoring group in the UK, found that 87% of British children ages 7-10 have asked for a book as a present, and 81% of children ages 4-14 chose to read physical books, compared with 41% for magazines, 37% for comics, and 35% for e-books on an iPad or Kindle.

According to Scholastic, American kids are more likely to be frequent readers if:

  • they describe themselves as “really enjoying reading”
  • they have a strong belief that reading for fun is important
  • they have parents who are frequent readers

British kids are likely to be frequent readers if:

  • they believe reading for fun is important
  • they enjoy reading
  • their parents are involved and engaged
  • they have parents who are frequent readers

Kids in both countries said they preferred to choose their own books. Most American kids (70%) prefer a recreational read that makes them laugh, while just 43% choose a book to “learn something new.” Can’t win ’em all.