Paging Dr. Seuss


The relentless snow may not seem a fitting end for Holi, but what better way to add some color to your life than to curl up with a good book?  Today, we celebrate Read Across America Day and Dr. Seuss’ 114th birthday by presenting to you, the results of our reading habits poll.  Thanks to all of our loyal social media followers for participating!

We found that 73.7% of our respondents preferred fiction, which is in line with current publishing sales trends.  60.5% get more out of reading when they can discuss a book with others with males being significantly more likely than females to prefer group discussion.  89.5% love to receive books as gifts whereas 57.9% admit to buying books and not reading them.

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Our readership tends to have fairly broad tastes with the average number of selected favorite genres being 5.5 (min. 1, max. 12, total of 18).  Unsurprisingly, fantasy and sci-fi were the preferred genres for Geordi La Forge fans but contrary to our hypothesis, it was Reading Rainbow fans who had a (slightly) more open-minded approach towards picking reading material.  Geordi La Forge fans on average allowed for 4.63 genres whereas Reading Rainbow fans selected 5.95 favorite genres with those who answered Neither trailing behind at 4.2. Furthermore, only about a third of Sci-Fi and Fantasy readers actually preferred Geordi La Forge to Reading Rainbow while less than a fifth of Science readers stated the same preference.  Reading Rainbow fans were 1.7 times more likely than Geordi La Forge fans to still enjoy children’s books.  The latter were also less likely to get more out of reading through discussion and less likely to buy books and not read them.  75% of professed Trekkies were in the 26-35 age group whereas Reading Rainbow fans spanned the entire survey age range.

The most popular genres were History (everyone picked this!), Memoir, Sci-Fi, Science, Mystery, Action/ Adventure, Fantasy, and Travel.  The least popular genres were Math, Religious, and Romance.  Those who selected Romance as a favorite genre were exclusively female between the ages of 26 and 50.  There were no Star Trek fans among them.  They also had above average (7.8 genres) reading preference ranges.  Males were twice as likely as females to prefer religious books and 60% of these self-reported as frequent readers, i.e., one book a week.  Self-Help and Travel were popular across all age groups while Satire is most popular amongst women.

92.1% of our respondents wish they had more time to read.  Gen Y was the only group to exhibit any indifference to the prospect of more personal reading time but these individuals were still in the minority.  Gen X were nearly twice as likely than Gen Y to strongly prefer more time to read.  68.4% of our poll-takers prefer to read on paper than on digital devices with nearly a third stating a strong preference in this regard.  Fascinatingly, both the youngest (18-25) and oldest respondent groups (51-65) demonstrated the strongest preferences for physical books.  This correlates with a wider trend in declining eBook sales due to print making a comeback amongst younger generations who usually cite “I like to hold the product” as their rationale.  There were no survey participants over the age of 65.

According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress and the National Center for Education Statistics, two-thirds of American fourth graders fail to meet reading proficiency standards.  The Annie E. Casey Foundation found that that number jumps to 80% among low-income students and to 90% among dual-language learners.  Native American children and adolescents have the lowest reading proficiency rates overall and this has not changed in over two decades.  Furthermore, there is a strong correlation between low literacy and crime.  Numerous studies have demonstrated that improving education reduces recidivism and increases self-esteem.  Disheartening then that our adult illiteracy rate has remained unchanged for the last decade.

If you know someone who is struggling with reading or would like to become a literacy volunteer, why not search Arounja for local programs?  And if you know of one that’s not listed, submit a suggestion!

Don’t take literacy for granted.  Support your local library and remember:

The more that you read, the more things you will know.

The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.