Dr Loh Chin Ee, Associate Professor and Deputy Head (Research) at the English Language and Literature Academic Group (ELL AG) and Dr Sun Baoqi, Education Research Scientist at the Centre for Research in Child Development (CRCD), have jointly published two papers on reading preferences and reading habits of adolescents.
The first paper, titled 'The impact of technology use on adolescents’ leisure reading preferences', seeks to understand adolescent reading in relation to technology by exploring their preferred reading devices, use of technology and public e-resources for reading. The study showed that adolescents preferred to read using their smartphones, and also reported that they lack knowledge or experience about how to look for reading resources online despite readily available and free e-books through the public library, which were under-utilised. The findings suggest an intentional and nuanced approach is needed to create an ecosystem of opportunities for adolescents to have meaningful reading experiences in print and digitally.
The second paper, titled 'Reading Habits of Singapore Teenagers 2021', explores the reading habits and practices across 6690 secondary school students from six government schools between February to April 2021. The study has four key findings:
- The state of teenage reading habits
Singapore students generally find reading in English relatively easy. 64.1% reported that they enjoyed reading, though their enjoyment declines as they get older. Enjoyment is a key motivation for teens to read and they are more likely to read when they can find books and topics that they are interested in.
- The impact of technology on reading
Teen smartphone ownership is high, and their two most preferred reading devices are smartphones and print. Those who enjoy reading are more likely to read more in print and digitally, compared to teens who do not enjoy reading. Teens who enjoy reading are likely to use their smartphones and other devices for more longform reading.
- Teen access to reading resources
Teens who are on the financial assistance scheme (FAS) are likely to have fewer books at home, receive less home reading support and enjoy reading less. During Full Home-Based Learning in 2020, teens mostly relied on their home resources for their reading materials. Teens with fewer books at home had less opportunities to sustain and enjoy reading.
- Public and school library support for reading
Public and school libraries serve different functions to support student reading. Public libraries provide access to a wide variety of books across different subject areas and through varied print and digital platforms. School libraries are closer to students and their collections and programmes can be curated to be more targeted for their school profile.