17 December 2012 10:48 AM

Teens and Young Adults Most Avid Readers

by rbavaria

Great news!  Teens and their slightly older peers are among America’s most frequent readers.  Eighty-six percent of American readers ages 16 and 17 read at least one book in the previous twelve months, according to a survey by the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project . 


That’s eight percentage points higher than the average of all Americans,  just two points lower than their slightly older peers (18-24), two points higher than their parents (30-39), and fifteen points higher than their grandparents (over 65).


Way to go, teens!  This news is heartening to this veteran English teacher, who’s spent a long career encouraging kids of 16 and 17 to read.  I’m smiling ear-to-ear.


The survey assessed the reading habits of Americans as e-books seem to change how we read and where we get our books.


Here are some of the findings.


  1. Seventy-eight percent of Americans said they had read at least one book in the previous year.
  2. Highest percentage of readers by age was 88 percent, with the 18-24 year-old group.
  3. Next were those 16-17 year-olds of whom I’m so proud.  They scored 86 percent.
  4. Readers 30-39 years-old came in at 84 percent.
  5. The lowest percentage, 68, was my own age cohort of 65-years-old and older.  (I blame it on our constantly misplacing our reading glasses!  That and falling asleep after only two paragraphs.)
  6. Among Americans who read e-books, 41 percent of those under age 30 read their e-books on a cell phone.
  7. Fifty-five percent read their e-books on a computer.
  8. Twenty-three percent read their e-books on an e-reader such as a Kindle.
  9. And 16 percent use a tablet.
  10. Among that age group, 47 percent read long-form e-content such as books, magazines, and newspapers.


There’s more good news.  Libraries are not obsolete, either.  In a separate survey, 60 percent of respondents younger than 30 said they used a library in the past year.  Libraries have not lost their relevance, providing all kinds of necessary services from books, newspapers, and magazines (both electronic and paper), deep research capabilities, audio-visual services, community services, public speakers and authors’ talks, and even concerts and film events. 


As one of those old folks in the lowest performing group, apparently I’m hipper than I thought.  I read e-books almost exclusively now, thanks to my Kindle, which I love.  My overstocked bookshelves sigh with relief. 


While I still subscribe to my hometown newspaper and a couple of national magazines, I subscribe to and regularly read the electronic versions of other newspapers and magazines.


And I regularly patronize my excellent hometown library, the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore , especially to see and hear visiting authors as they read from their works and respond to interviewers’ and audience’s questions and comments.


So, congratulations, young readers.  And to the oldsters in my age cohort: Get with it! Reading puts you in a cool, young group.  The only one we have the energy for any more!







2/4/2013 8:39:04 AM

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