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Raising Lifelong Readers

A Survey of 2,000 Americans Found...

By Amanda Cleveland • August 25, 2022

ThriftBooks enlisted OnePoll to survey 2,000 parents of school-aged children about their kids' reading habits and personal libraries, and we found some page-turning stats. Here are some of our favorite findings.

1. Imagination and Creativity Are Here to Stay

Oh, the things you can think up, if only you try! —Dr. Seuss

More than half of the parents surveyed see their child as having a career in a creative field down the line, and 70% think their children are more creative than they were at the same age, with books likely being the reason. Makes perfect sense to us. The pages open up and suddenly a child's small world of home and parents expands. There's color, there's imagination, there's talking animals. The world can be anything with a book!

If you're inspired, here are three books that celebrate creativity in kids:

2. The Next Great Author is Still a Kid

You can make anything by writing. —C.S. Lewis

Our survey found that 68% of kids love reading so much that it makes them want to be an author or writer someday. In addition, 32% of respondents' children are already starting to write their own stories, and 37% are drawing.

If your kid is one of these future authors or illustrators, here are picture books to fill their shelves with inspiration:

3. Books Bring Families Together

Every time you revisit a book you get something else out of it. —Jacqueline Woodson

There is something extra special about seeing your child enjoy something you used to in your own childhood. With books being a special kind of magic, it is almost no surprise that parents were more likely to enjoy sharing their favorite books with their kids than other media. Here is how books stacked up:

  • 58% of parents shared their favorite books
  • 50% enjoyed sharing their most beloved TV Shows
  • 47% bonded over their favorite toys
  • And 44% enjoyed bonding and sharing places or experiences from their childhood.

And we found that Gen Z parents enjoy showing their kids their most loved books from their childhood more than any other age group.

4. Times May Change, But Adventure Reigns

Second star to the right and straight on 'til morning. —J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

We asked the parents of the survey what their favorite genres were when they were their child's age, and the most popular genres were Adventure and Science Fiction, with 26% of respondents calling those their favorites. Fantasy was a close third with 24% calling it an old favorite.

When asked what their children love now, 32% said Adventure, proving its staying power. While Science Fiction is almost as popular with the new generation, kids today are loving Fantasy and Mystery more than their parents were.

It seems imagination is the key to keeping a kid's attention, whether that's a story of a boy hiking the wilderness, battling evil wizards, or mastering a mystical ninjistsu. We asked what their kids' current favorite titles are, and here are some of the most popular answers:

5. Kids Love Books!

Reading should not be presented to children as a chore or duty. It should be offered to them as a precious gift. —Kate DiCamillo

Our favorite stat might be the simplest. Our survey found that 62% of kids have their own bookshelf, and of those 62%, three out of four respondents (76%) reported that their kid is eager to completely fill their bookshelf at home. The next generation of book lovers is eager and ready to read! Doesn't that put a smile on your face? (Though of course we don't judge how you keep your books—whether it's in a pile or a shelf, a bunch of books is still a good time!)

We have to say, it's thrilling to see a new generation of book lovers emerging. If you can't get enough book talk in your life, join us at our Facebook group BookLoveHub™, or on TikTok and Instagram where we share book recommendations, literary tidbits, and more. Check out the full Infographic image for even more fun findings from our survey!

Read more by Amanda Cleveland

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