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A survey of young people's reading: thinking about fiction

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This article reports on selected results of a wide-ranging online survey of children's reading, carried out in 2005 by the National Centre for Research in Children's Literature. With 4182 responses from children from Key Stages 1 to 4 (aged from 4 to 16 years), the survey is a follow-up to a similar study completed in 1996. This article concentrates on the participants' responses to questions about fiction reading; key conclusions in this area include the fact that the majority at least 'sometimes' read storybooks/fiction and that the continuing significance of the Harry Potter series is reinforced by the survey. This can be seen in the fact that Potter was the favourite storybook/fictional character for all three Key Stage groups, and the series was quoted as being the favourite story/fictional book by all three age groups. In addition, the participants' preferences for main characters in their fiction showed that their likes were in many cases reflected by their dislikes. That is, where boys generally disliked reading about a certain type of character (e.g. 'a girl'), on the whole the girls liked reading about the same type of character.
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Keywords: children's literature; fiction; online questionnaire; young people's reading

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Information Science, Loughborough University, Loughborough, UK

Publication date: 2008-04-01

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