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Student Ebook Usage Breaks Records

First annual report on student digital book reading provides deep dive into the blockbuster genres, peak binge-reading hours and surprising statistics from the academic year 2022-23

Sora released its first annual reading report of worldwide student digital reading data for the 2022-2023 school year. “The State of K-12 Digital Reading” is based on the Sora student readng platform, used in 62,000 public and private schools in 50 U.S. states, 13 Canadian provinces and 75 countries around the world. The report reveals compelling regional differences, double digit growth in Comics and Graphic Novels and a surprising insight on which months tracked the most time spent reading.

“The State of K-12 Digital Reading” Annual Report is the most comprehensive study of trends and insights into K-12 digital reading habits that has been widely circulated. Aggregated data comes primarily from the Sora platform for the school year 2022-23 (July 1, 2022 through June 30, 2023). Download the report for free.

“We loaned almost 136,000 titles in Sora in 2023 and had over 60,000 reading hours, and for a region with only 28,000 students that’s a lot of reading,” said Mary Ann Munroe, School Library Services & E-Learning Coordinator at Greater Southern Tier Board of Cooperative Educational Services in New York. “Our region not only has a robust and growing Sora collection, we also partner with our local libraries on Sora to get even more books in the hands of students.”

“Sora has been a real game-changer for our school,” said Valerie Mignone-Conklin, Library Media Specialist at Jericho Middle School in New York. “From book clubs in the classroom to independent reading, I can provide my students with the books they want to read with the click of a button. We have circulated almost 20,000 books on Sora this year alone.”

Key findings include:

  • Digital reading in K-12 schools has increased significantly over the past few years. Since 2019, total usage (based on digital book checkouts) has grown 286 percent as the number of schools using the Sora platform more than doubled. In 2022-23, usage continued the trend with 12% growth.
  • Reading sessions on the Sora reading app were up more than 8 percent compared to the previous school year (2021-2022), with total books read per student increasing by 3 percent.
  • Comics and Graphic Novels usage grew across all age groups, especially among high school students (+56 percent in the ’22-’23 school year).
  • For the first time, regional differences were identified: popular ebook genres varied by region (e.g., Young Adult Romance vs. Sports and Recreation vs. Nature)
  • Series such as Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Harry Potter remain top choices overall for student reading, while social themes and “coming of age” stories dominated Young Adult reading lists.
  • Comics and Humor dominate ebook fiction lists for several age categories, while Mysteries, Biography/Autobiography and Digital Arts top ebook nonfiction lists.
  • The fastest growing audiobook genre is Humor (+88 percent), while Action and Adventure highlights audiobook fiction lists and Biography/Autobiography tops audiobook nonfiction lists.
  • The ebook format accounted for 84 percent of titles opened during the ‘22-‘23 school year, while audiobooks remain popular with 14 percent. Comics and graphic novels have contributed to the strong ebook usage, more than quadrupling in checkouts and jumping from 31 to 42% of total ebook checkouts since 2019.
  • The highest average reading time per user occurred in the summer: July (4.6 hours), followed by June (2.6 hours) and March (2.3 hours).
  • Checkouts during the popular summer digital reading program, Sora Sweet Reads, have grown 25 percent since the 2019-2020 school year.
  • Texas, New York, California, Utah, Wisconsin and Massachusetts are the states with the highest digital checkouts (including ebooks and audiobooks).
  • 57 percent of readers are accessing Sora on desktop, 32 percent are accessing via iOS and 11 percent are accessing via Android.

Sora, a division of OverDrive, is committed to promoting literacy and has become a crucial resource in over 62,000 K-12 schools worldwide.

The American Consortium for Equity in Education, publisher of the "Equity & Access" journal, celebrates and connects the educators, associations, community partners and industry leaders who are working to solve problems and create a more equitable environment for historically underserved pre K-12 students throughout the United States.

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Equity & Access - Issue 27

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