Advanced search

Browse your search results by sector:

Browse by audience:


Literacy news

The Reads and the Read-Nots

22 Aug 2011

New National Literacy Trust research* of 18,141 children reveals a polarised nation of young readers with 1 in 6 reporting that they don’t read a single book in a month, while 1 in 10 say they read more than 10 books in a month.

This divide between the “reads” and the “read-nots” is concerning because the research shows reading frequency has a direct link to attainment, as 8 in 10 children who read over 10 books a month are above average readers compared to just 3 in 10 of those who rarely read.  

Fresh approaches are urgently needed to encourage young people to read more. However, the number of children who never read a book suggests the government has a huge challenge on its hands if Michael Gove’s “50 books a year” initiative is to reach every child.

The research also found that:

  • 77% of children who read for longer than an hour at a time are above average readers, while just 4% who read for over an hour are below the level expected of them.
  • Only 30% of children who read for up to 10 minutes at a time are above average readers, with 20% below the reading expected level for their age.
  • Text messages are the most popular thing for children to read outside of class with 60% saying they read texts outside of class at least once a month.
  • Children who read text messages but not fiction books are twice as likely to be below average readers compared to those who also read fiction (10% versus 5%).

The full research report is available here.

Click here to read the full media release.


* Clark, Christina, Setting the Baseline: Reading Report, London: National Literacy Trust, 2011.

18,141 young people aged 8 to 17 from across the UK took part in the research.

Tags: Children, Leaders Network, Schools & teaching, Young People

Return to literacy news


The National Literacy Trust is a registered charity no. 1116260 and a company limited by guarantee no. 5836486 registered in England and Wales and a registered charity in Scotland no. SC042944.
Registered address: 68 South Lambeth Road, London SW8 1RL.