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The Scholastic Kids & Family Reading Report™ Data Shows Positive Connection Between Mental Health and Literacy

New data from the Scholastic Kids & Family reading report™: 8th Edition strengthens evidence for positive connection between mental health of kids and literacy


 Scholastic (NASDAQ: SCHL), the global children’s publishing, education and media company, today released new data points from the Kids & Family Reading Report™: 8th Edition, highlighting parents’ and kids’ views on the lasting impacts of the pandemic on children’s mental health, as well as the positive benefits strong literacy habits have on a child’s mental wellbeing.

To learn more about the Scholastic Kids & Family Reading Report, visit:

Linda C. Mayes, MD, Arnold Gesell Professor of Child Psychiatry, Pediatrics and Psychology, Director of the Yale Child Study Center, and a steering committee member for the Yale Child Study Center-Scholastic Collaborative for Child & Family Resilience, expanded on the research making deeper connections for how families and educators can foster mental health through reading in an op-ed published in Psychology Today

“Reading increases a child’s capacity for critical thinking, develops empathy skills, gives them the support they need during challenging times, and builds much needed resilience promoting skills which can help protect against various mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety,” said Dr. Mayes. “To put it clearly, literacy is not just an educational intervention but is an investment in a child’s health for the long-haul.”

Amanda Alexander, PhD, Chief Academic Officer, Scholastic Education Solutions shared, “Our mission at Scholastic has always been to connect children with the books that will not only support academic growth, but personal growth as well. Our partnership with the Yale Child Study Center has strengthened our understanding of how literacy and mental wellness intersect. The data from the new edition of the Kids & Family Reading Report show just how powerful the impact can be for children to support their discovery of engaging stories and lifelong reading habits.” 

Key findings from the research conducted in December 2022 of more than 1,000 pairs of parents and their children include: 

  • Parents express concern about the impact of the pandemic on their children’s mental health.

- Half of parents of 6- to 17-year-olds (51%) say they believe their child’s mental health was negatively affected by their pandemic experiences. Parents of younger (6-11 years) and older children (12-17 years) are equally likely to express this belief.

  • These negative impacts on children’s mental health may be persisting. 

- Older children (12-17 years) whose parents said their mental health was negatively affected by the pandemic are more likely than other teens to say they’ve had the following feelings in the past month: nervous or anxious (52% vs. 34%), sad or depressed (38% vs. 22%), and lonely (31% vs. 17%). And these teens are less likely than other teens to say they’ve felt happy (56% vs. 69%) or proud (32% vs. 43%).

  • Reading frequency is related to teens’ emotional experiences. 

- Frequent readers–kids who read books for fun 5 or more days a week–were more likely than other readers to report feeling proud and excited in the past month.
- Infrequent teen readers–those reading books for fun once a week at most– are more likely than their frequent reader peers to say they felt nervous or anxious (50% of infrequent readers vs. 39% of frequent readers), sad or depressed (37% of infrequent readers vs. 25% of frequent readers), and lonely (30% of infrequent readers vs. 19% of frequent readers).

  • When asked to describe the changes they’ve observed in their child’s mental health, parents are most likely to mention their child feeling socially isolated or lonely. Others mention their child being shy or withdrawn, more anxious or worried, and sad or depressed.

- “My child was not able to socialize with other young children during the first year of the pandemic, and I don’t believe that limitation was healthy for my child’s social development.” (Parent of 8-year-old girl)
- “He is struggling with social anxiety since the pandemic.” (Parent of 15-year-old boy)
- “She was sad that she couldn’t see her friends and grandparents, and worried about getting sick or others getting sick and dying.” (Parent of 13-year-old girl)

The Scholastic Kids & Family Reading Report is a nationally representative survey sharing the views of both kids and their parents on reading books for fun and the influences that impact kids’ reading frequency and attitudes toward reading. This 8th Edition survey was conducted by Fluent Research between December 13, 2022 and January 6, 2023, with a total sample size of 1,724 parents and children including 637 parents with children ages 0–5, 1,087 parents with children ages 6–17, plus one child ages 6–17 from the same household. Parents of children ages 6–17 completed their survey questions first before passing the survey on to one randomly selected child in the target age range. The survey sample was sourced and recruited by Ipsos using their nationally representative KnowledgePanel®.

For more information about Scholastic (NASDAQ: SCHL), visit the Company’s media room:  


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