Subscribe to The Horn Book

I see you’re still reading

skyisfallingI was jawing on the radio yesterday about Common Sense Media’s latest report on the woeful state of young people reading for pleasure. I dunno–kids have been reported to be reading less than they used at least ever since I got into this business thirty-five years ago. If this were in fact true, you’d think we wouldn’t have any readers at all left by now and yet we do. (In fact, one of the most enlightening things about the Common Sense report is that way down at the bottom they point out how much reading surveys contradict each other, becoming, like a fourth-grader’s report about Uruguay, “a study in contrasts.”)

Roger Sutton About Roger Sutton

Roger Sutton has been the editor in chief of The Horn Book, Inc, since 1996. He was previously editor of The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books and a children's and young adult librarian. He received his M.A. in library science from the University of Chicago in 1982 and a B.A. from Pitzer College in 1978. Follow him on Twitter: @RogerReads.



  1. As a parent, I think these studies potentially a bit flawed. I have a kid in elementary, one in middle school and one in high school. All love to read and always have a book on hand. However, if they asked my oldest if he reads for pleasure on a daily or weekly basis during the school year, his answer would probably be no simply due to the time demands of school work and his extracurricular activities. If you asked him in July, you’d get a whole different picture because he has more leisure time. I wonder if they take that into account?

    Also, my youngest is assigned to read 30 min per day. She reads whatever she wants and often goes over her time limit, but because it was assigned, she would probably report that she is not reading “for pleasure”.

  2. If it were true – that children are reading less and less – then why are there so many beautiful books for children of all ages being published and sold and borrowed and bought? I think the media loves a story and unfortunately there focus is on sensationalism and not so good news… give me a good news story any day.

  3. This is one of the (only) things I enjoy about traveling by plane: airports are full of people reading for pleasure. Often on devices where they could be doing something else. Maybe that’s the only time they’re reading (and I know that air travel samples only the top socioeconomic portion of the population), but it still cheers me.

Comment Policy:
  1. Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  2. Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  3. Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through (though some comments with links to multiple URLs are held for spam-check moderation by the system). If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.

We accept clean XHTML in comments, but don't overdo it and please limit the number of links submitted in your comment. For more info, see the full Terms of Use.

Speak Your Mind