Epic Releases Report on Kids’ Pandemic Reading Habits and the Impact of Reading on Their Emotional Wellbeing

Industry News
The Read All About It annual report from Epic, the award-winning digital reading platform for kids, shows reading time dramatically increased in 2020 and led to increased curiosity and happiness

REDWOOD CITY, CALIF. – May 11, 2021 – Epic, the world’s leading digital reading platform for kids, today released the results from a first-of-its-kind report about reading preferences and habits in kids titled Read All About It: A Report on the State of Kids’ Reading Habits and Interests During the Pandemic. The report combines the results from a survey of parents, done in partnership with Morning Consult, about the activities and feelings of their children during the pandemic, along with anonymized, aggregated data on usage and trends from Epic’s internal data analytics team. The Epic data provides a unique look at the reading habits of 50 million kids aged 12 and under. Key takeaways from the report show that reading dramatically increased across all ages and parents reported that this led to an overall improvement in their kids’ wellbeing.   

One of the biggest changes the report highlights was the massive increase in reading overall.  In 2020, total monthly reading time on the platform increased by 89% compared to 2019, and according to parents, reading was kids’ second most preferred activity, even more than going outside, playing video games, doing arts and crafts and more. In 2020, kids read an extra hour each month for an average of 100 minutes a week, with parents saying their kids read for fun four or more times a week. And when they were reading on Epic, they were most likely doing so on a mobile device. More than half—605 million to be exact—of the 1 billion books read on Epic      in 2020 were read on a phone or tablet, a 98% increase from 2019. The report also highlights the importance of allowing kids to pick what they read, with results revealing that 72% of kids read more when they got to choose the material.  

During what was a difficult year, parents reported that reading had a strong positive effect on kids. Sixty-nine percent of kids were reported to be happy after they read, with humorous books being the top genre of the year. Conversely, parents reported that after other digital activities—defined as video games, playing on a tablet or watching TV—29% of kids were anxious, 27% were angry and 20% were sad; but only about 1 in 10 of kids showed those emotions after reading. Almost three-fourths of parents added that after reading, kids' behaviors reflected more creativity, curiosity, self confidence and willingness to try new things. 

“It’s a dream for us to see that the data reflects one of the founding principles of Epic: to inspire curiosity in children and fuel their innate love of learning,” said Kevin Donahue, co-founder of Epic. “Discovering that 82% of parents said their kids were eager to discuss what they read after putting down the book made us proud of what Epic has accomplished; not only in its ability to effectively engage kids in reading, but to spark family conversation and continue the learning beyond the platform.”  

The pandemic also affected what kids searched for and read about. For the first time, “family” ranked high on the list of terms kids searched for in 2020, aligning with the fact that nearly 70% of parents said time spent with family increased. “Strange” was also in a new word in the top 10 most searched terms of 2020, suggesting kids were actively seeking information to help them understand and cope with the events happening around them. During a time when 55% of parents reported their kids spent less time with friends, data shows the term “friendship” was a new search term in 2020. 

When looking at an overall snapshot of kids’ reading habits and preferences in 2020, the following reading trends emerge: 86% of the books kids finished in 2020 were fiction; kids typically read over 20 minutes each day; most kids are reading Monday through Friday and less on the weekends; kids read the most in June and July (which is unusual, since children have historically read less in the summer months); and the 10 most popular search terms were animals, friendship, funny, pet, cat, bedtime, strange, monster, family and dog. 


About Epic

Designed for unlimited discovery and unmatched safety, Epic is the leading digital reading platform for kids. Built on a collection of 40,000+ popular, high-quality books, audiobooks and videos from 250+ of the world’s best publishers—Epic reaches more than 50 million kids in homes and classrooms and safely fuels curiosity and reading confidence. Epic has made access free to educators and more than 1 million teachers use it in the classroom. To learn more, visit getepic.com, or follow Epic! on Facebook and Twitter.

Recent Articles


Will there ever be a day when human teachers are used precisely and fortuitously only for their human qualities in direct instruction?

LeiLani Cauthen

Technology is inescapable. Whether teaching and learning at home or at school, we rely on hardware and software to help us

Tamara Fyke