A study from the Aarhus University found that the percentage of 9- to 12-year-old children who read books in their free time has risen from 56 to 61 percent since 2000.
The survey of 1,999 kids in grades three through six also found that the desire to read also tapers off later now than it did over a decade ago. Whereas kids in 2000 began losing interest in reading in their free time by the time they hit third or fourth grade, today that is more likely to happen in the fifth or sixth grade.
“It’s interesting that while the digital media really took hold over the past decade, kids are reading more on a weekly basis now than ten years ago,” Aarhus University’s Stine Reinholdt Hansen told Jyllands-Posten.
The researchers behind the study attributed the increased interest in reading to the focus that Danish schools have placed on reading over the past decade or so. Many schools require primary school students to read one book of their own choosing each week and many public school teachers have been trained in boosting kids’ reading comprehension.
Elisabeth Arnbak, an associate professor at Aarhus University’s Department of Education, said kids can get more out of reading books of their own choosing than just reading school-assigned material.
“When you read longer fictional texts, you get the opportunity to immerse yourself while acquiring a large vocabulary. If I was to give Danish children and young people just one piece of advice, it would be this: Read some books,” Arnbak told Jyllands-Posten.