Deakin University publishes report on Australian Teens’ reading habits

April 4, 2024

Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund welcomes the recent research published by Deakin University, which reveals Australian teens’ reading attitudes and preferences.

The Cultural Fund proudly funded the project alongside other research partners: Australian Publishers Association (ASA), BookPeople, the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) and the School Library Association of Victoria.

A total 13,217 Australian secondary school students were surveyed for the study.  The report focused on teens’ voluntary reading habits, specifically excluding homework or school-assigned reading.

The research revealed that almost three in 10 students in Years 7-12 do not read in their spare time and for the majority of Australian teens, reading ranks below social media and watching videos in their leisure activity preferences.

The report then delves into what factors influence teen readers’ reading habits. With almost two thirds (61%) reading other books by an author they like, more than half (57%) receiving recommendations from friends and 55 per cent reading the book of a movie, TV show or game they like.

Copyright Agency CEO Josephine Johnston wrote a Foreword to the report and explains how vital this research is for helping to address and overcome the barriers to reading young people face.

“We’re delighted to have supported this timely research. Young people are surrounded by distractions and external influences that can disrupt their reading. However, we know there is still a healthy appetite for reading among teenagers; they take recommendations from friends and family and visit public libraries to study and socialise.

“But to connect more young people with more reading for leisure opportunities, we need to understand their journey to discovering new books and then foster an environment that keeps them reading. I’d urge anyone who works or lives with teenagers to read the report.’

The report also identified seven personality types based on teens’ reading habits and preferences. These were: Fiction Fanatics, Regular Bookworms, Rushed Fans, Casual Dabblers, Holiday Browsers, Sparse Readers, and Book Abstainers.

Associate Professor Rutherford said a better understanding of each reader type helped to drill down to teens’ attitudes about reading, including what encouraged them to read and what held them back.

Josephine adds, “This research is fundamentally crucial for Copyright Agency as it contributes to our understanding and work with teachers and teacher librarians in publishing relevant resources for teens on Reading Australia, and also more broadly through our work for our members in schools, libraries and with publishers.”

The full report, Discovering a Good Read: Exploring Book Discovery and Reading for Pleasure Among Australian Teens, can be found here.

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