During the pandemic, children have had part of their “normal” childhood robbed from them—unallowed to go to school and see their friends, many kids report feelings of loneliness or anxiety.
However, a recent study conducted by Renaissance Learning across the UK and the Republic of Ireland indicates that reading books is making a comeback as a tool for youth to combat isolation. As kids are picking up more difficult books to challenge themselves, literacy skills have improved significantly.
A study by the National Literacy Trust surveyed 4,141 pupils across the UK at the beginning of 2020 and found that reading for pleasure was at its lowest level since 2005 (48 percent of children). Now, with kids searching for ways to escape the repetitiveness of lockdown, kids’ pleasure reading levels have gone up with 56 percent of the 1.1 million pupils included in the study saying that they enjoyed reading very much (24 percent) or quite a lot (32 percent).
The students included in the study reported that reading made them feel better during the lockdown and that it alleviated them from feelings of sadness about not being able to see friends and family.
Elementary school children, especially, boosted their reading levels by focusing on more demanding texts that require better levels of comprehension, perhaps because they allow for more escapism. In fact, the Scottish elementary level and year two (the equivalent of first grade) students included in the study are reading books two years ahead of their age levels.
It’s uplifting to know that children are using this strange and isolated time to create healthy reading habits that they will hopefully carry into them in their post-pandemic lives and as they mature.