The shares of American 9- and 13-year-olds who say they read for fun on an almost daily basis have dropped from nearly a decade ago and are at the lowest levels since at least the mid-1980s, according to a survey conducted in late 2019 and early 2020 by the National Assessment of Educational Progress.

Among 9-year-old students, around four-in-ten said in 2020 that they read for fun almost every day, down from 53% in both 2012 and 1984. Among 13-year-olds surveyed in the 2019-2020 school year, 17% said they read for fun almost every day, a smaller percentage than the 27% who said this in 2012, and roughly half the share who said this in 1984. 

In the 2020 survey of younger children, female students were more likely than male students to say they read for fun. When it comes to race and ethnicity, 9-year-old students who are Asian American, White, or Hispanic were more likely to say they read for fun almost every day than were their Black peers in 2020. Among 13-year-olds, 28% of Asian students said they read for fun almost every day, along with two-in-ten White students who said they do this almost every day. These shares are larger than the shares of Black and Hispanic students who said the same.