Parents say kids who read as a leisure activity do better at school and reading for fun is more important for their child’s education than tests according to new research.
The global study from Book Depository, which investigated attitudes towards reading across 170 countries, including New Zealand, showed three quarters (73%) of Kiwi parents also believe that reading for enjoyment is extremely important for a child’s intellectual development.
More than 90% of parents said reading in their spare time improved children’s exam marks, a further 86% said leisure time reading was more important to a child’s academic development than studying for a test.
Six in ten parents (59%) said their children were unable to read as they were too busy with school, homework or after school clubs.
Adults also shared a love of reading, with 41% saying cosying up with a good book made them feel calm. A further 31% said it made them feel happy and 13% said it made them feel more confident.
Many adults surveyed said they would choose to read more if they were not so busy with work and their children, with more than half (59%) saying it was one of their most favourite leisure activities.
Kiwis listed fiction (25%), followed by crime (9%) and fantasy (6%) as their top three genres.
More than a third (37%) of respondents said they read books for entertainment, almost a fifth (18%) read to learn and a sixth (17%) use books to escape reality.
Of their most preferred places to read, four in ten (43%) of respondents said it was in bed, 41% like to read in their favourite chair followed by commuting, beach or park at 6%.
The survey also showed that 39% of Kiwis prefer reading the book before watching the movie, with just 3% keen to watch the movie before reading the book.
Kiwi respondents said they often discussed books with friends or family, with 45% saying this was the case.
Mitch Lang, head of marketing for Book Depository says by global standards New Zealanders are avid readers and have one of the highest per-capita rates of book consumption across the 170 countries that made up the study.
He says almost a third (29%) of all books purchased in New Zealand are for children, with traditional hard copies being the preferred choice.
“Nielsen data shows New Zealanders buy more than six million hardcopy books per year and our own figures have found Kiwis are the second-highest consumers of physical books among the countries we supply to,” he says.
Lang says demand for hard copy books through online channels remains strong with around 6% of New Zealand’s population considered an active subscriber and says their growth in sales in this country is driven by the offer of free delivery on 20 million titles.
 The global survey of over 17,500 respondents including (1,664 from New Zealand) was conducted in March, 2019. The online survey sample was drawn from the Book Depository database. Full results of the survey can be found here.
 Book Depository sales data
 Nielsen BookScan