Less than half of Ontario’s Grade 6 students say they like to read — a number that has dropped dramatically over the last decade.

Even among younger students in Grade 3, just 59 per cent enjoy reading, down from 76 per cent over the same time period, according to provincial data.

These are startling statistics that need attention, says advocacy group People for Education, which is releasing its annual tracking report today. There’s no clear answer as to why — Do they just dislike novels? Do Grade 6 students actually like anything at all? — but executive director Annie Kidder wonders if intense pressure is the reason.

“In England, there’s a worry that because the focus is on literacy that is a very narrow definition of the word — the mechanics of reading — that a love of reading is not being engendered,” said Kidder.

People for Education Prof. David Booth called Grade 6 in particular “a strange world; they don’t like anything.”

He believes there’s no need to worry about today’s youth — “they all read for pleasure, but it’s onscreen.”

“No one has read as much or written as much as kids today.”

People for Education’s tracking report calls on the government for a “renewed vision” of education.