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RCHK Secondary School Reading Trends Survey 2014

RCHK Secondary School Reading Trends 2014 In May 2014 Commonsense Sense Media published a report on Children Teens and reading which outlined some of the trends in reading in children. The RCHK secondary library team were interested in whether we would observe similar trends in our Hong Kong International School. In response, a brief survey was developed to collect data from the secondary student population. The questions with collected responses and observations are included below. 357 responses - 339 from students = 32% of secondary student body

Responses were evenly spread across most year levels, with RCHK staff participating as well.

The responses to this survey may have been a little biased, as generally those who are interesting participating in a reading survey would be those who like to read. It is reassuring to see that most of the respondents find reading to be a pleasurable experience.

‘Other’ reading responses included : fan fiction, autobiographies, manga, anything of interest, comic books, Chinese comics, banned books, Wattpad, funny books, Mystery fantasy, Biographies, guides, movie based novels, Sci-fi, historical fiction. It seems that the RCHK community reads widely across all genres with a particular liking for fiction, this was consistent across all age groups.



Traditional Chinese


Simplified Chinese














There was a technical problem with this question, which may have modified actual responses. The responses were tallied manually from the entered data from the ‘other’ response. We may have to repeat a survey just on languages read in order to get a true picture.

This question may not reflect an accurate picture of the RCHK community as most people who are interested in reading would also be interested in a reading survey. It is pleasing to know that most of those surveyed do feel that reading is something they do well.

“Other’ responses included - Depends on how busy I am, it is different everyday, I could read non stop if allowed. It is reassuring that 51% of the respondent’s are reading on average between 15- 60 minutes a day, with another 36% reading much more than that on a daily basis.

Comparative chart of daily average time reading across year levels 30.0 22.5 15.0 7.5 0

Year 7 (61)

Year 8 (57)

Year 9 (50)

Year 10 (63)

Less than 15 mins 15 mins - 30mins 1/2 - 1 hour Between 1-2 hours More than 2 hours No time spent on reading for pleasure

11 (54)

12 (32)

It seems most of the RCHK community take advantage of any time they have to read, and home is the main place for this activity to occur.

“Other’ responses included - new books in a series, parent recommendations, Battle of the Books, Kindle recommendations, English classes, books by an author I like. Recommendation from friends is the main source of new reading, with books store displays the second most popular and online sources third. These responses demonstrate that ideas for new reading material is sourced from many different avenues and that social media tools such as Goodreads should continue to be well utilised.

This is quite a high percentage of ebook readers, and it appears from the responses that for most people it another option for reading. It is not an either/ or situation.

“Other’ responses included Amazon store, books from home. This was an interesting response in that books are still being purchased from book stores, with the 2nd highest responses borrowing from the school library. Internet response does not discriminate between legally acquired copies or bootleg copies.

Other responses included : Wattpad, Fanfiction and “I don’t read ebooks”. Overwhelmingly downloading from free sites is the main way RCHK community acquire their ebooks - investigation into the sites and copyright implications may be required. The school ebook platform is something that has been launched this year, and it is good to see it being utilised if in a small way.

In a 1:1 school this result should not be surprising. Nook was mentioned in the other responses, however it is apparent that respondents use a variety of mobile devices to access their e-reading.

Demands from work and school are the main barrier to further reading and the numbers were consistent across all year groups.

Comparisons to other Trends in reading studies Italics are findings from the Commonsense media report “Children, Teens and Reading.” Daily reading rates and reading for fun have dropped to precipitously low levels in recent years in adolescents. Reading is still a big part of many children’s lives. This survey illustrates that reading is still a large part of RCHK student’s lives whether it be fiction, non fiction, online reading of current affairs, or other, they are doing a lot of reading. There seems to be a decline in reading for pleasure in the upper year levels as the pressure of school work increases, however, they are still reading non fiction and school texts.

E-reading has the potential to significantly change the nature of reading for children and families, but its impact is still unknown. E-reading made up of 30% of the responses, with most students reading from their laptop rather than a device. However, this may have been a misunderstanding on what is meant by e reading - is it all digital reading, or published books of fiction and non fiction.

Problems with our survey in comparison to other studies: We did not ask for gender in the survey - this would have given us more comparative information. We needed to ask how often respondents read for pleasure as well how long they read for pleasure.

Summary of Findings on RCHK reading trends: RCHK secondary community: read in multiple languages, read a variety of mediums with fiction being the most popular read at every opportunity they have have a high level of parental support for reading illustrated through purchase of books enjoy reading in print and digital formats discover new reading from a variety of sources enjoy recommendations from their friends find that school work load is a barrier to spending more time reading read ebooks on multiple devices The RCHK school library has a significant impact on reading in the school through reading recommendations and easy access to reading material.

Rchk reading trends  

Results of a survey we conducted to research the reading trends of our school population.

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