R.I.F. usually stands for ‘Reading is Fundamental’.  I’m changing that up today to ‘Reading is Fun’.  One of the joys of retirement for me is uninterrupted reading time!

I have to wonder if reading for fun is becoming a lost art.  I found a PEW research article that describes the decline in reading for fun:

The shares of American 9- and 13-year-olds who say they read for fun on an almost daily basis have dropped from nearly a decade ago and are at the lowest levels since at least the mid-1980s.

Survey conducted in late 2019 and early 2020 by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)

The data is from 2019-2020.  I can’t help but wonder if it will be worse in the next measurement.  I truly can’t imagine how to teach a child to read on Zoom!  And if a child doesn’t learn how to read in early elementary school and feels frustrated, it is pretty unlikely that they are going to be reading for fun anytime soon!

I was an avid reader growing up.  My first picture book was ‘The Smart Little Mouse’ (I think I still have it somewhere). My parents were both readers too.

My two book club friends and many of my other friends have been reading for fun as long as they can remember.  I must admit that TV was limited when we were growing up and screens were non-existent.  But our very busy daughter, who grew up with both, is also an avid reader in her limited spare time.

One of my favorite elementary school memories was my teacher reading ‘A Wrinkle in Time’ to us.  I hung on every word.  That being said, I wasn’t a big fan of required reading.  I only liked to read what I wanted to read 😊, a sentiment that continues today.  I think most kids are probably like that.  Which is why I don’t really care what they read, as long as they have fun reading it.  Our daughter devoured the Babysitter’s Club series and I was just fine with that.

My meilleur ami is a literacy consultant.  I love that she finds books that kids should read….but will also love!  I ask her advice before buying books for our grandchildren and she always nails it.

I happen to think that Reading is Fun, but it is also Fundamental. 

Short term:

We know that kids who read for fun perform better on the reading section of standardized tests

Pew Research Center

Longer term:

Aside from the sheer joy of exercising the imagination, research shows reading for pleasure improves literacy, social skills, health, and learning outcomes.

National Library Trust



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