Please note: Some of the content on this page was published prior to the launch of Creative Australia and references the Australia Council. Read more.

Children and Reading Literature Review

Feb 01, 2014


The purpose of this literature review is to summarise current knowledge on Australian children’s leisure reading.

Children are defined as aged from 5 to 14 years of age and ‘leisure reading’ is understood as the reading children choose to engage in, as opposed to assigned school reading. In addition, reading is understood broadly to include digital and multimodal forms in addition to traditional paper-based forms.

The literature review discusses current research into children’s leisure reading. The review identifies gaps in existing knowledge and areas for possible further research.


Selected Key Findings

  • Reading for pleasure as an activity declines rapidly in frequency and intensity as children approach adolescence.
  • Female children are more likely then male children to enjoy reading, to read for pleasure and to read every day.
  • Children from higher socioeconomic backgrounds are more likely to read for pleasure.
  • Indigenous Australian children are less likely to read for pleasure than non-Indigenous children.
  • Children who are encouraged to read by their families and who have parents who themselves engage in leisure reading are more likely to read for pleasure.