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Teen Read Week 2002

Smart girls decide for themselves™.

SmartGirl and Young Adult Library Services Association (a division of the American Library Association) wanted to know what SmartGirls think about reading. This survey was part of Teen Read Week (October 13-19), a national campaign to get young people interested in reading. This report summarizes what you told us about reading! If you would like to write your own report, please visit the SmartCenter!
Demographic Information: Who took this survey?
An amazing 6458 people took this survey with an average age of 13 years old. About 63% of the respondents were female and 37% were male. 35% of the people who responded were the oldest children in their family, while 33% were the youngest in their family, 24% were the middle child in the family, and 8% were the only child in their family. Almost half of the respondents live in towns (42%), with about the same percentage living in rural areas (19%) and suburban cities (20%). Only 13% live in big cities and 6% live in villages.

Age of Survey Respondents
School Information: What do the people who took this survey think about school?
Looks like this group does well in school! 66% get either excellent grades (23%) or good grades (43%). 5% said that they do their best in math and science course, while another 5% said that they do their best in non-math and non-science courses.

Do you think that people who enjoy reading more are more or less likely to be better readers? Let's take a look at a graph that may help us think about this question....
Reading Enjoyment versus Reading Level
enjoy reading a lot [1]little [2]not at all [3][row totals]
read level
other [0] 4.04%3.70%19.97%5.71%
advanced [1] 73.86%32.36%22.00%50.17%
average [2] 20.27%53.54%41.82%36.98%
below average [3] 1.84%10.40%16.21%7.15%
[column totals] 45.76%42.84%11.40%100%
Do people who enjoy reading consider themselves better readers?
So, what do you think?

Let's take a look! Of the people who said that they like reading a lot, 73.86% are advanced readers. That's a much bigger percentage than the people who don't like reading at all...only 22% of those people considered themselves advanced readers. Only 1.84% of the people who like reading a lot consider themselves to be below average readers!
Reading Choices: Why do people who took this survey read?
58% of the people who took this survey said that they "always read things that they are passionate about." Only 13% said that they read more than just things that they are passionate about. Looking at the graph below, it looks like time gets in the way of people reading for pleasure. 2073 people agreed and 1093 people strongly agreed that they wish they had more time to read for pleasure. Although time seems to be a factor, a lot of people still make time to read for pleasure...54% said that they read constantly for their own personal satisifaction! Only 26% said that they only read what they are supposed to for school and only 21% said that they basically don't read much at all.
Books Read Each Month
How many books do you read each month?
Here are some of the reasons why people read:

  • 55% said that they read just for the fun of it!
  • 54% said they read to learn new things.
  • 42% said that the read because they have to for school.
  • 30% said that they read because they get bored and have nothing else to do.
  • 21% said that their friends like to read and talk about books.

Here are some of the reasons why people don't read:

  • 19% said they don't read because it is boring.
  • 19% said they don't read because they don't have the time.
  • 7% said they don't read because it isn't cool.

Reading Time: How often do people who took this survey read different types of reading material?

This chart outlines on average how often different types of reading material are read:

Once a week

Twice a month

Once a month

Once every three months

Once every six months

Once a year

Books for class
Books for pleasure

Product packaging

News magazines
Entertainment magazines

Comic books
Fashion magazines
Sports magazines
Humor Magazines

Video game magazines
Puzzle magazines

Computer magazines

Although books for class are read more often than other types of reading material, fashion magazines, sports magazines, and music magazines are more popular.
Favorite Reading Material
Reading Habits: Where do the people who took this survey get their books, find help, and like to read?
On average, people who took this survey visit the public library once every three months and visit their school library once a week. Although they don't visit the public library as often, according to the graph below, many people rely on their public library to get their books! When was the last time you thanked your local library?

54% of the people that took this survey were read to a lot as kids, while 34% were read to sometimes, 10% were hardly ever read to, and 5% were not read to at all.

Most people that took this survey like to talk about books they are reading with their friends, followed closely by their parents. Some people also talk to their teachers and brothers and sisters about books they are reading.
Get Books
Where do you get your books?

Drum Roll Please....

    Top Ten Kinds of Books 2002
  1. Adventure
  2. Mystery
  3. Fantasy
  4. Horror
  5. True Stories
  6. Romance
  7. Sports
  8. Science Fiction
  9. Autobiographies/Biographies
  10. Hobby

    Top Ten Types of Characters 2002
  1. Characters Like the Reader
  2. Characters Different than the Reader
  3. Characters Who Have Done Amazing Things
  4. Fantasy Characters
  5. Characters Who Are Faced With Tough Issues
  6. Animal Characters
  7. Sports Figures
  8. Musicians
  9. Historical Figures
  10. Detectives

    Top Ten Best Book Read for Fun 2002
  1. Harry Potter Series
  2. Lord of the Rings Series
  3. A Child Called It
  4. Holes
  5. Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul
  6. A Walk to Remember
  7. Left Behind Series
  8. Artemis Fowl
  9. His Dark Materials Series
  10. The Giver

    Top Ten Best Book Ever 2002
  1. Harry Potter Series
  2. Lord of the Rings Series
  3. Where the Red Fern Grows
  4. A Child Called It
  5. The Outsiders
  6. To Kill a Mockingbird
  7. The Giver
  8. A Walk to Remember
  9. Hatchet
  10. The Bible

Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts with us!

Please remember that all web-based polls are not scientific because the pollsters cannot randomly select the respondents to participate in the surveys.

All our surveys are anonymous; check out our privacy policy. All data copyright 1996-2000.


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