listen to what kids are saying: highlights state of the kid report

One thing I love about Highlights is that they listen to kids.highlights state of the kid cover

They read every single letter sent to them. Over 50,000 letters are sent to Highlights each year, and over 50,000 letters are read by Highlights each year.  Each letter gets a personal response.

Every. Single. Letter.

Because Highlights really believes that kids need to be heard.

So for the last four years, Highlights has created and shared the Highlights State of the Kid Report–a report that asks kids questions–and really, truly listens to their answers.

I had the opportunity to read the report and share my own reflections on the findings–and speak at the State of the Kid Press Conference in Ohio late last fall, and I’m thrilled to finally share it with you.

Parents, teachers, grandparents, aunts, uncles, caregivers, administrators–anyone and everyone who works with children–should take time to read the report because it’s worth your precious time. It really is.  And I totally get how busy you are.

highlights state of the kid welcomeThe State of the Kid Report is informative, insightful, and surprising. And the results should help you–let them to some degree guide your interactions, decisions, conversations, and judgements about kids these days. I know I have.

Because kids are so smart. And sometimes they pick up on more than we think they do.

Here’s the skinny. . .

  • Listen to What Kids are Saying — Highlights State of the Kid Report, 2012: Really, the Report touches on everything from school to friends to the president, but most importantly, it touches on what is important in the hearts and minds of children.


highlights state of the kid panel

Proud to be with my fellow panelists: Dr. Sasha Ribic, Suzanne Bloom, Dr. Julie Justice, Amy Lupold Bair

highlights state of the kid panel

 The State of the Kid Report shares answers to questions like:

  • If you could trade places with a character in a book, who would you like to be? Why?
  • What is your favorite way to read?
  • Which of the following qualities is MOST important for a president?
  • What advice would you give to kids on how to be friends with kids who are very different from them?
  • If everyone in the world would listen to you for a day, what would you say to them?

What I love about the Report is that Highlights has asked that children write their responses–and you can read some of them right there in the report. There’s something really powerful about reading, in a little person’s handwriting, what he or she would say to the world if given a chance.

I like it. No–I love it.

highlights state of the kid

And after you take a look at the State of the Kid Report, you can view In Their Own Words — a webcast of our panel as we discuss the findings and report results. The amazing, incredible Highlights Editor-In-Chief,  Christine French Cully, moderates the panel, and as is the case every time I am with her, I am in awe of her grace and eloquence.

Every single person on the Highlights, High Five, and Hello teams whom I spent time with was just as fabulous as Christine French Cully. They love what they’re doing, and what they are doing is creating worthwhile and meaningful content for our young readers.

I loved meeting and spending time with my fellow panelists: crazy smart and totally sweet Dr. Sasha Ribic; super-famous author and illustrator Suzanne Bloom; literacy researcher and educator, Dr. Julie Justice; and my longtime friend, Amy Lupold Bair, Twitter party superhero and blogger extraordinaire.  Their thought, insight, and reflection blew me away.

Check out the photos from our few days in Ohio with our friends from Highlights:

It was an absolute honor to participate in this event, and I am thrilled to have been invited. Words cannot adequately express how amazing it is to work with a company that respects and views children this way.  Highlights magazines have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember; Highlights was the very first magazine subscription I ever received–and it’s something that I truly feel helped me develop a love of language, reading, and learning from the time I was very young.

Now Maddy, Owen, and Cora are fans of Highlights and High Five, racing to the mailbox when they know it should be there, laughing at Goofus and Gallant®, racing through the Hidden Pictures®, trying the crafts, reading the rich content, and talking about their learning.  I’m grateful.

We’ve written about Highlights many times before, but if you want some Hidden Pictures® Lunchbox Love Note fun or want a little Magazine Hunt action in your house, feel free to check out past posts.

Here’s to hoping that all the amazing parents, educators, and caregivers who read this blog will find some important takeaways in this year’s Report.  Please let me know what you think! I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section!


fyi: Many thanks to Highlights for inviting me to participate in the 2012 State of the Kid Report. I am grateful and honored to have been a part of it.

This is an unsponsored post, and all opinions and ideas are my own, influenced only by my experience as a parent and educator.  I am, though, a part of a Highlights affiliate program, so if you would like to try a subscription for your own little ones, please consider using one of the links below.  Many thanks!




  1. Brandy says

    You will totally love Target’s dollar spot then. (combining Target and Highlights is always a win-win, agree?) I went last night to pick up a birthday present and as usual got sucked into the dollar spot looking for little goodies. There were only about a million different fun Highlights things there. i.e. maze books, reebus story books (two different kinds), spot the sillies books (combined with the alphabet also), a joke book with jokes from real children (that my daughter and I read in its entirety right in the aisle because it was so funny), hidden objects posters, paint set posters, Goofus and Gallant books, Timbertoes and Spot books, etc. Seriously, go there and get you some. Each for a dollar!!! We were totally trying to figure out a way to use some of these for Valentines. Example: tear a maze page out, roll it up like a diploma, and attach a note that says “You’re a-maze-ing, Valentine.” Or tear a page out of the spot the silly book, roll it up like a diploma, and attach a note that says, “I am not being silly. I want you to be my Valentine.” At least those are the ones my 8 year old was thinking of. Also, on the back of the things we bought (cause you know I had to buy almost all of them), there is a link to a special Target Highlights offer. Holla!!! Oh yeah!! There were also books that had questions from real kids, answered by the Highlights team. I got the one about the human body. I don’t remember the theme of the other one but there was another one. I know I am missing something. Oh my, have I convinced you, yet? Well, if that doesn’t do it, they also had LEAPFROG stuff in our dollar spot. Seriously, the only way it could have been better was if Melissa and Doug had some action going on in there.

    We are coming your way in March with another family for a family vacation and I am totally saving a lot of this stuff for then. I am laminating the mazes and putting them on rings so the kids from each family can play with them. Same with some of the other goodies I found. Cannot wait!!!!

    • Brandy says

      I am embarrassed to see how long my comment is. Ha! Of course, it’s not going to stop me from mentioning something I forgot to mention. My kids have been using the site since they were little. (I used it in my classroom when I taught, as well.) Anyway, if you or one of your readers doesn’t know about it, it’s a site sort of like Accelerated Reader in the schools. AND IT’S FREE!!! Basically, you (as a parent or as a teacher) can create an account and have your children read books, then take a comprehension quiz on the book. They receive points for each book they read. Collecting points is important because there is a prize library where the kids can spend the points and get prizes…again, completely FREE. Know what one of those prizes is? A 6 month subscription to Highlights magazine. WOOT! We’ve been subscribers to High Five since it came out because we’ve had children in those age ranges since that time. And my oldest daughter has been receiving Highlights ever since she earned her free subscription from bookadventure in Kindergarten. My current kindergartener is trying to earn his own highlights subscription right now. How great is that? Okay. I am done with ridiculously long comments. (unless I remember something I have forgotten) And I just did. My kids really enjoyed your post on Legos recently. We have been watching the videos you have on your account. Thanks for all you do, Amy!!

      • amy says

        BRANDY! Thank you thank you for this idea–Maddy uses Accelerated Reader in 3rd grade, but I am not at all familiar with Book Adventure! I will most certainly check it out! And you know what? I LOVE your long comments!!! xoxo

    • amy says

      OMG! Wow! Clearly I have to frequent our Target more often! (Bummer for me but the closest one is 45 minutes away!). I AM THRILLED to hear about this Dollar Spot find and just may make my way out there today or tomorrow. I love that stuff, and I am totally going your route–perfect for Valentine’s Day!! And LeapFrog? Whaaaa? Awwwhhh, would love it if M & D teamed up w/ Target, but I am not sure it’ll happen. . . but maybe? :)

      YAY! I would love to see you in March, my friend! I am so sad it didn’t work out this fall, but I totally know how hard it is when traveling on a tight schedule with family. Really. But let’s try to make it happen, okay?! xoxo

      • Brandy says

        Um , you will not believe it. We were at Target again today (it is very close to my home) and I am totally not making this up, but in the toy section there was a brand new Melissa and Doug area. Seriously!

        • amy says

          stop it! !! maybe you are a mind reader. Do you have a hunch in the mega million? Kidding aside. ..that’s awesomeness! !!

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