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This is the first I’m learning of the spookily named Decline at 9 phenomenon, in which kids apparently lose interest in reading around age nine. (Per the article, 57% of 8-year-olds claim to read for fun daily, vs. only 35% of 9-year-olds.) ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Discussion  4 comments


As a parent with younger kids, this is concerning... One thing I'd love to know is how this plays out geographically — is this a global trend or specific to the US? Screens are certainly a global trend but cultural approaches to reading and education vary wildly.

Matt G

Man, I feel lucky, my daughters are 13 and 11. We have to confiscate books from them at night so they'll actually go to bed. They certainly have access to phones and laptops and will spend a lot of time scrolling if given the chance, so that certainly hasn't lowered their interest in reading.

I do get the impression that their peers generally don't read. They seem to struggle to connect at an intellectual level, but I'm not sure I could articulate why.

The Covid years were were extremely difficult for kids. From talking to teachers and administrators, reading levels backslid dramatically for most students in that third to fifth grade range. I don't think they have the resources to help everyone catch up again. I've heard from local middle school teachers that a not insignificant number of kids are functionally illiterate. But they keep getting pushed through to the next grade.


Oof, I'd not properly considered COVID into this. Glad to hear about your kids though. We've just started embarking on reading adventure with our 5-year-old. Here's to trying to reverse this trend...

Tyler Zeruk

As a parent to an 8.5 year old this is definitely concerning! She has been a ferocious reader - and from two generally non-reading parents! What’s interesting is it’s exactly as the article describes … she LOVES the graphic novels/comic books and I wonder if, as she ages out of those, the desire to read will start to wane.

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