May 12, 2022
The report generated by digital reading platform Epic utilised data from over 50 million children and identified that the demand for reading is at an all-time high.
Epic, a digital reading platform, has published its second annual report identifying trends in pupil reading habits. Combining responses from a survey of parents, done in partnership with Morning Consult, and anonymized user trend data, Epic’s data analytics team is able to provide unique insights into the reading habits of more than 50 million kids.
This year’s key finding? Kids’ demand for reading and storytime remained at an all-time high – even as COVID restrictions were lifted, schools reopened, and in-person extracurricular activities resumed. As our first report showed, from 2019 to 2020, kids increased their reading by 89%. And that number did not decline for 2021. Parents also believed that their kids spent about the same time (46%) or more time (44%) reading in the past year as compared to 2020 – even as the world began to reopen. Additionally, according to parents, their kids spent more time reading than playing video games with 58% of parents saying their kids read daily, surpassing the 42% who say their kids play video games daily.
“As with our first report, these deep, valuable insights have shown us the power of books to help kids escape, explore and learn during tough times, and how the need for books endures long after those challenges begin to subside,” said Epic co-Founder Kevin Donahue. “We hope the information contained in this report inspires parents, like us, to seek out more ways to get their children excited about reading and make it a lifelong habit, hobby and passion.”
In the 2021 survey, parents consistently reported that autonomy to pick their own books fueled their kids’ motivation to read, with 71% spending much less time reading when selections are made for them by their parents or teachers. And after nearly a year stuck at home, data showed that kids craved excitement from the world around them — at least from the books they were reading in 2021:
- Adventure stories became the second most popular genre (behind humor), while fantasy jumped to fourth place (up two spots from 2020).
- Similar genres in the top 10 included science fiction (5th) and fairy tale (7th)
- New additions to the most searched topics in 2021 included magic and mythical creatures.
As children’s mental health remains at the forefront of the cultural conversation, Epic’s findings point to reading as an effective tool for improving emotional well-being. Parents report that reading positively impacts their children more than other activities including time spent outside or creative expression.
Parents also rely on books to broach conversations around sensitive topics. Key findings include:
- When reading is compared to other activities, 34% of parents said reading has the most positive impact on their child – higher than outdoors activities or arts & crafts.
- Parents said that their children exhibited positive behaviors like creativity, self-confidence and curiosity after reading, and fewer negative emotions like anger, sadness and anxiety.
- 62% of parents said they’ve noticed improved school performance behaviors when kids are reading regularly.
- Parents even leaned on books to help broach difficult discussions about climate change ( 56% of parents ), mental health (50% of parents) and even the war in Ukraine (20% of parents).
Epic’s first report included the finding that fifty million kids read one billion books on Epic in 2020—and in general spent 89% more time reading on Epic than 2019. These numbers remain steady for 2021, with kids reading 1.2 billion books. The company is committed to maintaining these positive reading trends, guided by feedback from parents in the Epic community.
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