Over the past two years, educators, parents, students and other education stakeholders have had to learn new tactics, new technologies and develop new learning and teaching habits.
Some of these novelties have been disastrous. Others, meanwhile, have been unquestionably positive.
As education returns to what we remember as normal, a big question remains – what good things, if any, will remain? How many good things we have learned or done during the pandemic can we incorporate into our new normal?
Last year, for example, Epic, the world’s leading digital reading platform for kids, reported that reading had exploded. Between 2019 and 2020, when lockdowns and remote learning took hold, Epic said reading increased by 89%. This is perhaps not surprising. But he was good.
It seemed unlikely, if not unlikely, that the pandemic reading boom would persist after a grand reopening. Yet this week, Epic released its second Children’s Reading Report – Read All About It: A Report on the State of Children’s Reading Habits and Interests in 2021. The report surprisingly showed that reading rates reading remained incredibly high last year – on par with their pandemic lockdown levels.
“Epic’s first report included the finding that fifty million children read one billion books on Epic in 2020 and spent 89% more time reading on Epic overall than in 2019. These numbers remain stable for 2021. , with children reading 1.2 billion books,” the report says.
The report also showed that 90% of parents said their children spent the same amount of time (46%) or more time (44%) reading in 2021 than in 2020. Parents even said their children had spent more time in 2021 reading than they did. playing video games and 58% of caregivers said their children read every day.
It’s unquestionably awesome. This is news that everyone would like to be part of normal. Educators and parents would do well to look at why the reading trend is continuing and invest to keep it going.
As impressive as it is, there’s probably room for even more reading. Last year, according to the report, children aged 6 to 12 spent an average of 99 minutes per month reading. Children aged 3 to 5 played an average of 81 minutes per month.
As for what keeps reading habits high or what can help them grow further, there may be some information in the new report.
It says, for example, that adventure stories became the second most popular genre, while fantasy subjects also rose two notches from 2020. Similar genres in the top 10 included science fiction and the fairy tale. ‘Magical creatures’ and ‘mythical creatures’ were new to the most searched book topics, replacing ‘dogs’ and ‘monsters’ as the main search items.
“While the topics children choose to read have changed little from 2020 to 2021, this desire for adventure stands out as a notable trend. It is possible that the return to in-person instruction, where schedules were more rigid , left kids yearning for stories about unpredictable, otherworldly experiences. Or maybe after almost a year stuck at home, they wanted to explore the world,” Epic said.
All the magic and adventure means that, according to Epic, non-fiction subjects aren’t as popular as escapism. This can be a great lesson in learning about learning – while school is indeed about imparting knowledge and reality, some of the best habits can be cemented by stepping away from these things. Schools and teachers would also do well, Epic points out, to let children choose their own places to go, their own stories and topics. Directed and prohibited reading is important. But for the longevity of the love of learning, the freedom to choose can be both essential and undervalued. Let kids be kids, experts say.
“We hope the insights we’ve uncovered through this report will help parents find ways to inspire their children to make reading such a deep-rooted habit that they’ll never want to stop,” the report said. Epic co-founder Kevin Donahue. “This valuable information shows that reading not only unleashes a love of learning, but also has a positive impact on their emotional well-being.”
It is far too early to know what the long-term echoes of the pandemic will look like, in education or elsewhere. But while we all strive to quickly throw away the things we hate or improve on the things that weren’t working well, let’s not throw away the great things we found. They may be few. But they can also be very important.
If this mini-generation of early readers proves to be more engaged in their own learning, if they stick to their speed-reading habits, that will be a big win. If we can find ways to repeat this with the learners of tomorrow, that’s even better.