Fun with Percentages: Children 9-17 Read more E-books


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I was thumbing through Publishers Weekly last night, well, OK, I was reading the online version, when I came across this article, Scholastic Report Finds More E-book Reading Among Children. This report was an updated version of a report originally completed in 2006. As I read through, there were various percentages of this and that, where the reading is done, what devices the reading is done on. I started thinking: I’m seeing all of these percentages, but I have absolutely no idea what the total pool was that these numbers were drawn from. Was it 10 children, 50 children, 3000 children?

It’s actually not surprising to me that children are reading more e-books. Some school systems are turning completely to database and digital e-learning over print products at a breakneck speed. As I detailed in my last blog post, McGraw-Hill is revolutionizing learning in the K-12 arena with the Smartbook technology. It was only a matter of time before studies would begin to see shifts in the reading patterns of the nation’s children. The Book Kahuna is all about getting content and teaching materials into the hands of the masses to ensure we have leaders in all fields tomorrow. Whatever format this content takes will be dictated by many different criteria, but the main focus should be getting students engaged and reading in whatever delivery system successfully completes the job.

Some of the statistics that caught my eye were the following:

1. “Forty-Six percent of kids 6-17 have read an e-book, up from twenty-five percent in 2010.”

2. “The number of boys who read e-books rose at a slightly faster rate than for girls, but more girls (47 %) read an e-book than boys (44 %) last fall.”

3. “There was not too much variation in e-book reading among age groups, with children age 12-14 the most likely to have read an e-book (48 %) and those 15-17 the least likely (43 %).”

4. “Reading on an Ipad or other tablet increased the most between 2010 and 2012, jumping from 3 % to 21 %… “

Even with all of these statistics giving us the bird’s eye view, the most telling statistic was this one:

1. “And while children reported reading for fun less, their parents in increasing numbers, said their children don’t read enough with that percentage rising to 49 % from 36 %.”

Although all of the numbers tell a story of technology moving forward in the classroom, what does the last statistic tell us about children’s reading habits? There is a chance that the reading devices that the children are using to read the e-books, are not only used as dedicated reading devices. If you are using an IPad to read a book, chances are you are also using that IPad to play a game, watch videos, or movies, send e-mail, tweets and /or texts.

This is the challenge going forward: How do we keep the children engaged and looking to read and learn beyond the classroom, when there are so many different distractions to pull them in many varied directions? I think this question will only be answered as the revolution in book content unfolds. We’re scratching the surface of a brave new world.

Publishing like it Oughta Be!  (Homage to the ’86 Mets!)


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The Book Kahuna



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