By Ashly Moore Sheldon • April 25, 2023
As we start counting down the days until school's out, it's time to start thinking about summer reading—for kids and adults alike. In the interest of learning more about how parents share literature with their children, we enlisted OnePoll to survey 2,000 parents with school-age kids about their traditions around reading. And we got a pretty sweet story out of it too! Here are some of the primary lessons we learned.
As we all know, reading with young children expands their imagination and introduces them to new concepts, ideas, language, and experiences. Surely that's why the majority of parents (63%) report that they "always" or "often" read to their kids before bed, averaging four nights a week. Nearly eight in ten parents read their children the same books that were read to them. This speaks to how much we enjoyed the experience of storytime as kids. It also reflects the enduring quality of classic children's literature such as:
Parents may even be reading to their kids from the very same volumes that they enjoyed, because 37% of respondents said that they had books in their collection that were at least 20 years old.
We may still love and enjoy our childhood favorites, but 73% of Americans say they would be open to a modernized take on the classic books they enjoyed as kids. Of the possible retellings, 66% said they would enjoy having the story told from a different perspective and 55% liked the idea of retelling the story in a different genre. Here are some kidlit retellings we recommend.
An important part of sharing literature with our kids is introducing them to a diverse mix of genres. And it looks like they're doing a great job of that! We learned that parents and their children draw from a pretty even mix, including:
Despite the convenience and easy access of eReaders, the popularity of hard copy books still edges out that of eBooks (68% over 67%). Over half of parents (59%) said they also enjoy sharing audiobooks with their kids.
Our take: "Storytime can take on different forms, all of which can be equally effective in fostering kids' love for reading. It's great to see parents scheduling time to read with their kids, and it's especially important to do so in the summer months—multiple studies over the years have shown the summer break can result in a loss of academic skills, including reading."
Raise your hand if you've fallen asleep while reading aloud to your kids. It's been well documented that reading has a calming effect and the parents we surveyed confirmed this. Over 80% of respondents said that reading to their kids helps them fall asleep as well. Hopefully we make it to our own bed first!
If you're reading this and wishing your own bedtime routine had a more calming effect, consider the book Nothing Much Happens by Kathryn Nicolai. Based on a popular podcast, the stories in this volume explore small sweet moments of joy and relaxation like sneaking lilacs from an abandoned farm in the spring or watching fireflies from a deck in the summer.
No matter the format, 83% of parents said they want to set a good example for their kids by reading. The average respondent said they would read three more books a week if it meant their child would also read more. When asked about barriers to storytime, 50% of parents cited being too tired after work and 49% said they didn't have enough books on hand at home.
Nonetheless, it seems that whatever parents are doing to help their child develop a love of reading, it's working. A majority of respondents (72%) said their child enjoys reading more than playing with devices.
Our take: "Summer is a great time to take your favorite books outdoors. Making a trip to your local library together and exploring its summer reading programs and book lists can keep kids' minds stimulated with stories before they head back to school."
Here are some of fun new releases to add to kids' summer reading lists:
As always, we love hearing from you. So let us know if you have any thoughts on what our survey revealed in the comments or on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram where we share daily book recommendations, literary tidbits, and more.