Reading during adolescence: Why adolescents choose (or do not choose) books

Katherine Wilkinson, Valentina Andries, Danielle Howarth, Jane Bonsall, Shari Sabeti, Sarah McGeown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The authors explored adolescents’ reasons for reading or not reading books. In individual interviews with 39 adolescents (ages 15 and 16) in the United Kingdom, they reported that reading books offered an opportunity to relax, learn, escape the real world, and become immersed; was exciting, developed their empathy skills, and provided a form of social capital. However, challenges to book reading included a lack of time; that it was too effortful; that it was not encouraged, was expensive, or was uncool, or that students had simply lost the habit or grown out of it. Implications for high school classrooms are discussed, and the researchers argue that time, space, and/or initiatives to read for pleasure are important. Collaborative work among researchers, teachers, and engaged/disengaged adolescent readers is essential to ensure that these initiatives are optimal and reach and resonate with their intended audience.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy
Early online date22 Jul 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 22 Jul 2020


  • 4-Adolescence
  • Adolescent/young adult literature
  • Choice
  • Fiction
  • Intrinsic < Motivation/engagement
  • Motivation/engagement
  • preference < Motivation/engagement
  • Teacher education; professional development


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