Reading: Student Experiences
NAEP survey questionnaire responses provide additional information for understanding NAEP performance results. Since 1984, students taking the long-term trend reading assessment have been asked how often they read for fun on their own time. The response categories for this survey question are almost every day, once or twice a week, once or twice a month, a few times a year, and never or hardly ever. Students' responses to this question in 2020 are compared below with those from previous assessment years.
NAEP is not designed to identify the causes of performance differences. Therefore, results must be interpreted with caution. There are many factors that may influence average student achievement, including local educational policies and practices, the quality of teachers, and available resources. Such factors may change over time and vary among student groups.
Reading for Fun
Lower percentage of 9-year-olds read for fun daily compared to 2012
Forty-two percent of 9-year-old students reported reading for fun on their own time almost every day in 2020, a lower percentage compared to both 2012 and 1984. The percentages of students who reported reading for fun once or twice a week, once or twice a month, or a few times a year were higher in comparison to the previous assessment in 2012.
Also, 16 percent of 9-year-olds reported that they never or hardly ever read for fun on their own time in 2020, which was higher than both the 11 percent reported in 2012 and the 9 percent reported in 1984.
|Year||Almost every day||Once or twice a week||Once or twice a month||A few times a year||Never or hardly ever|
Both male and female 9-year-olds read for fun less frequently
Of 9-year-old female students, 46 percent reported reading for fun almost every day in 2020, which was higher than the 38 percent of male students who reported doing so. For both male and female 9-year-olds, the percentages who reported reading for fun almost every day were smaller in comparison to 2012 and 1984. Conversely, the percentages of male and female students who responded in 2020 that they never or hardly ever read for fun on their own time were higher in comparison to both 2012 and 1984.
|How often students read for fun on their own time||Male||Female|
|Almost every day||49*||47*||38||58*||58*||46|
|Once or twice a week||28*||22||23||27||23*||26|
|Once or twice a month||8||8||9||6*||6*||8|
|A few times a year||4*||8||8||2*||6*||8|
|Never or hardly ever||11*||15*||21||7*||7*||11|
Compared to their lower-performing peers, higher-performing 9-year-old students report more frequently reading for fun
Fifty percent of 9-year-old students scoring at or above the 75th percentile in 2020 reported that they read for fun on their own time almost every day, whereas 39 percent of 9-year-old students scoring below the 25th percentile reported doing so.
In 2020, the percentages of students who reported reading more frequently—almost every day or once or twice a week—were higher for students performing at or above the 75th percentile than students performing below the 25th percentile. Conversely, the percentages of students who reported reading less frequently—a few times a year or never or hardly ever—were higher for students performing below the 25th percentile.
|How often students read for fun on their own time||Students below 25th percentile||Students at or above 75th percentile|
|Almost every day|
|Once or twice a week|
|Once or twice a month|
|A few times a year|
|Never or hardly ever|