New Jersey always ranks very high on any list when it comes to education. Our education system and our schools are top notch. But who would’ve thought so many of our students were self starters?

It turns out that New Jersey kids spend a lot of time reading for pleasure. And that’s really good news. Remember, these kids have been bored throughout the summer and their lives been basically turned upside-down from the pandemic, especially the way they learn.

It wouldn’t surprise me if New Jersey kids never picked up a book and instead stayed at home during quarantine, playing video games. But here’s the shocking (and happy) news: According to a survey of 1,600 U.S. students conducted by the online learning community Brainly, New Jersey was in the top five states where kids spent more time reading during the summer. And we’re talking about reading for pleasure!

It’s widely known that kids who spend a lot of time reading set themselves up for academic success more than those who do not, and the survey found that most students across the country read more unassigned books during this past summer vacation than they did last year. Of students in all 50 states, New Jersey students were tied with Illinois for No. 2. The survey also noted the top genres that students were reading and they were (in this order) dystopian fiction/science fiction followed by mystery/crime thrillers, romance novels and graphic novels. But if you asked me, reading any of these is preferable to sitting in front of screens or on devices.

Here are the 5 states who topped the country for students who spent the most time reading.

  • Texas - 83%
  • New Jersey and Illinois - 82%
  • Georgia - 79%
  • Michigan - 78%
  • Ohio - 77%

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Judi Franco. Any opinions expressed are Judi's own.