From classroom trends to school board decisions, Class Act will keep you updated on all the school issues followed by the Star Tribune’s education reporters. Contributors include Steve Brandt, who covers Minneapolis; Kim McGuire, who covers the west metro; Erin Adler, who covers the south metro; Anthony Lonetree and Libor Jany, who cover St. Paul and the east metro, and Paul Levy and Shannon Prather, who cover the north metro.

Reading rates drop among U.S. teens, according to report

Posted by: Kim McGuire Updated: May 12, 2014 - 11:46 AM

A report out today concludes that teens don't read as much for fun as they once did, even with the advent of social media.

The report is actually a compilation of studies about reading. They include the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) and work by the National Center for Education Statistics, the Kaiser Family Foundation and Northwestern University.

One study documented a drop in the number of children who read daily from childhood to the tween and teenage years. It showed a that 48 percent of 6-to 8-year-olds to 24 percent of 15 to 17 year-olds were daily readers. According to another study, since 1984, the percent of 13-year-olds who are weekly readers went down from 70 to 53 percent.

Also of note, girls read for pleasure for an average of 10 minutes more per day than boys, a gap that starts with young children and persists in the teenage years, the report states. It's also reflected in achievement scores, with a gap of 12 percentage points in the proportion of girls vs. boys scoring "proficient" in reading in the eighth grade in 1992 and 11 points in 2012.

"This review brings together many different government, academic, and nonprofit data sets to reveal some very clear trends," said Vicky Rideout, an advisor to Common Sense Media, which authored the report. "There has been a huge drop in reading among teenagers over the past 30 years, and we’ve made virtually no progress reducing the achievement gaps between girls and boys or between whites and children of color. The bottom line is there are far too many young people in this country who don't read well enough or often enough."

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