A new nationwide survey conducted by Scholastic India shows that children are more likely to read if they are allowed to pick out their own books.

1,752 parents and children took part in the survey, which reveals that 92% of the respondents read for pleasure at least once a week, but that only 32% do this for most of the week.

The children surveyed are aged between six and 17, while the parents surveyed have kids aged zero to five.

A whopping 88% of boys and 86% of girls said that they would read more if they could choose their own books.

The findings of the survey reinforce the importance of parents’ role in helping children to read:

“One of the most powerful predictors of reading frequency in children aged 6-17 is being read to by parents 5-7 days a week. Across all ages, 85 per cent of children love being read to aloud, and among kids aged 6-11 whose parents have stopped reading aloud to them, more than half, 57 per cent, wish their parents had continued,” the report said.

Parents are only one half of the puzzle, though. Schools are key to developing reading habits in pupils. However, the survey shows the schools are not doing enough to encourage children to become readers:

“The survey findings show that children who are given time for independent reading at school are more likely to be frequent readers, yet only half of children aged 6-17 have the opportunity to do so as a class or school...Only 11% read a book of their choice independently every school day.”

The survey also finds that more than four in ten children prefer reading printed books over ebooks. Happily, a majority of the children surveyed enjoy reading for pleasure and believe that “reading books for fun is extremely or very important”.

The children have spoken. Are adults listening?