Teenage reading

Tackling the Drop Off: Understanding the Teenage Reading Experience

Reading for pleasure is important for academic, social and emotional development. It helps us relax, learn new things and explore our emotions. However, research has shown that motivation to read books declines during the teenage years. Working collaboratively with the Scottish Book Trust, we are seeking to understand the reasons for this drop-off and hope to use insights from young people themselves to help structure the project.

Lots of research in this area uses statistics and questionnaires to try to understand why young people seem less inclined to read than adults and younger children. However, in order to truly understand young people’s perspectives on reading we need to capture their voices and let them be at the heart of how research about them is carried out. Therefore, an essential part of the project is our Youth Advisory Panel, who are helping us make decisions about how best to research young people’s reading experiences. The panel – which is made up of 5 wonderful secondary school students from across Scotland – are helping us design the project and formulate questions to ask other young people in interviews about their reading motivation. Through these interviews we hope to gain a greater understanding of the barriers to reading during the teenage years from the perspectives of young people themselves. We also hope to understand more about the benefits of reading and the factors that influence what, when and how young people choose to read. With these perspectives, we hope to be able to develop tools for young people, parents and teachers that will support them in finding and sustaining a love of reading.

Project Lead: Charlotte Webber (PhD student, University of Edinburgh)

Research Team:

5 pupils forming the Youth Advisory Panel

Dr Sarah McGeown, University of Edinburgh

Dr Lynne Duncan, University of Dundee

Katherine Wilkinson, Scottish Book Trust

With thanks to the Scottish Graduate School of Social Sciences, and the Scottish Book Trust, for funding this research.

For more information about this project, please contact Charlotte Webber on c.webber-1@sms.ed.ac.uk