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Experiences of New Zealand children actively reading for pleasure

This study uses data from the Growing Up in New Zealand birth cohort to explore the characteristics and experiences of Aotearoa New Zealand children that may influence their frequency and enjoyment of reading.

Previous study shows there are many benefits to reading for pleasure including improved school achievement, cognitive function, psychological wellbeing, and social inclusion and those who read tend to engage more fully in public, social and economic life.

Most children and adults in Aotearoa New Zealand indicate they enjoy reading, children and young people are also following the international trend of declining enjoyment from, and time spent, reading.

Findings and Future Considerations

The study found that most children do like to read and will read frequently purely for enjoyment. While some of the readers in this group carried some expected characteristics such as being quieter or having fewer sibling, there were a number who challenged these stereotypes.

Children who read frequently were more confident at school and across extracurricular activities in both sports and the arts.

A number of environmental factors were identified as having an impact on how often a child would read for pleasure and how much enjoyment they got from it. These included financial background, ethnicity, parental encouragement and the number of adults or other siblings in the household.

This research contributes to the national knowledge base and understanding of the value of reading for pleasure. National Library, as part of their strategic priority to grow a nation of readers, will continue to contribute to this ongoing work.

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