Reading for Joy: People for Education Report

New report from People for Education (December 12, 2011):

Reading for Joy

From the media release:

Reading for Joy, a report released today by People for Education, shows the percentage of Ontario students in grade 3 who report they “like to read” dropped from 75% in 1998/99 to 50% in 2010/11. The number of students in grade 6 who “like to read” fell from 65% to 50% in the same time period.

The report also notes that research shows that in elementary schools with teacher-librarians, students are more likely to say the “like to read”.

As reported in The Star:

Only half of pupils like to read, survey finds
Toronto Star, December 12, 2011
Kristin Rushowy–only-half-of-pupils-like-to-read-survey-finds

The People for Education report cites several possible reasons for the decline, including the intense focus on literacy, which is good but “maybe there’s a part of that focus that makes kids see reading as work, and that’s taken away some of the fun and joy,” Kidder said.

Students may not consider all the reading they do online — from websites to text messages — as ‘real’ reading. Or they may not enjoy the reading they do at school, she added.
The report also points to the dearth of teacher-librarians in Ontario schools; many studies show a significant correlation between having a teacher who is also trained as a librarian in an elementary school and the number of kids who like to read.

Patsy Aldana of Groundwood Books was interviewed on CBC Radio’s Metro Morning the day the report was released (December 12, 2011). She was brilliant. She made an unequivocal link between reading for pleasure and success in life, and students’ engagement in reading and teacher-librarian staffing.

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