Shanghai pupils let parents down in reading

Primary school students in Shanghai read 8.42 books a year on average, but more than 70 percent of parents wish their children would read at least 15, said a report released today.
SHINE

Primary school students in Shanghai read 8.42 books a year on average, according to a report released by PsyLife, an educational assessment consulting institution.

The Little Prince, Father and Son, Charlie IX and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince were among the top 10 most popular books.

The conclusions were made based on more than 1.7 million entries of reading history kept by 94,000 pupils on its website in the past year, as well as a questionnaire answered by over 9,000 parents, the institution said.

About 70 percent of the parents surveyed believed a child should read at least 15 books a year, but only 45 percent of the students are able to reach that expectation.

Among them, 22 percent read more than 30 books a year and 25 percent read between 15 and 30.

According to records on the website, only 17 percent of students read at least seven hours a week, or an hour a day on average. But the older the pupils are, the more time they are likely to spend on reading, with over 20 percent of fifth graders spending more than seven hours on reading each week.

Wu Fan, the mother of a 3rd grader, said it was no problem for her son to read for seven hours a week during the summer vacation, but not so easy during semester time.

"He loves reading and reads about one hour a day lately," she said. "But after the semester starts, he has to go to school during the day and do homework at night, leaving little time for extracurricular books."

As e-commerce booms, about two thirds of parents said they usually bought books from online bookstores for their children and slightly over 28 percent said they bought from physical shops.

”I love online shops — they're very convenient and usually have good discounts," Wu said.

About 20 percent of families spent more than 800 yuan a year buying books for children, while 10 percent spent less than 200 yuan.

The survey showed that the more a family spent, the more likely they would be to buy from online stores.

Parents mainly choose books according to schools' recommended reading lists and their children's preferences. Those spending more would also take other information into account, such as rankings of popular books on online shops, recommendations from popular WeChat accounts, and some professional book review websites.

Novels, popular science and cartoons were the top three categories.

More than 69 percent of parents spending more than 800 yuan a year on children's books had bought popular science titles, compared to 41 percent among those spending less than 200.

As digital books and audiobook players gain popularity, more than half of the parents said they would allow their children to utilize the two methods while reading.

They also wished their children could attend offline reading activities and share reading experiences, besides just reading alone.

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