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Reuters/Andres Stapff
Don’t stop.

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

Jenny Anderson
By Jenny Anderson

Senior reporter, Editor of How to be Human

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.

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