Research Projects Using Growing Up Data

Characteristics and experiences of New Zealand children that may influence reading for pleasure

Publication Date:
Lead Organisation:
Lead Researcher:
Ruth Boyask, Celeste Harrington, Jayne Jackson, John Milne, Robin Hankin, Drew Le Fleming Hall, Robyn May
Access Type:
Primary Classification:
Secondary Classification:

This study describes and investigates factors that may influence children’s reading for pleasure with the aim of identifying possible explanations for declining enjoyment from reading. Children and young people in Aotearoa New Zealand are following the international trend of waning enjoyment from reading. There are many benefits to reading for pleasure including improved school achievement, cognitive function, psychological wellbeing, and social inclusion. It also has societal benefits as readers engage more fully in public, social and economic life. The Eight-Year data release from Growing Up in New Zealand (GUiNZ) indicates that 27% of the cohort read for pleasure once a week or less. Our study will identify factors from the GUiNZ datasets and examine their association with children’s reading for pleasure. Using bi- and multivariate analyses, we will seek correlations between children’s enjoyment of reading and selected variables (informed by our recent review of international literature on and local case studies of reading communities) and test their significance. The funding also allows the research team to learn and trial new inferential methodologies to be used in future, more detailed studies of plausible influences on reading for pleasure in school-aged children. This research is important for the National Library of New Zealand’s national conversation on reading and has implications for the Ministry of Education’s enactment of the education strand of the New Zealand Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy.