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Literacy news

Our research reveals record numbers of children enjoy reading every day

20 May 2015

A record number of children enjoy reading and there has been a dramatic increase in the number of children who read every day, according to our latest research.

Findings from our fifth annual survey of 32,000 children and young people aged between eight and 18 show that enjoyment of reading and frequency of reading are both at their highest levels for nine years.

This follows a series of major campaigns and initiatives including Bookstart, the Summer Reading Challenge, the Young Readers Programme and our National Literacy Trust Hubs, which have combined with the advocacy of a succession of powerful Children’s Laureates to create momentum to encourage children to read more from a young age.

Children and young people who read daily outside class are five times more likely to read above the expected level for their age compared with young people who never read outside class.

The key findings from the research, Children’s and Young People’s Reading in 2014, are:

  • Levels of reading enjoyment continue to improve. 54.4% of children and young people enjoy reading either very much or quite a lot. 35.5% only enjoy reading a bit and 10% do not enjoy reading at all.
  • Levels of daily reading also continue to increase – dramatically. Between 2013 and 2014 there was a 28.6% increase in the number of children and young people who read daily outside class, rising from 32.2% in 2013 to 41.1% in 2014.

The gender gap is still an issue

The research shows that whilst there has been a sharp increase in the number of children and young people who read outside class on a daily basis in the last year, girls have edged further ahead than boys. The gap between the proportion of girls and boys who enjoy reading has also increased.  

  • Almost half (46.5%) of girls say that they read outside class on a daily basis compared with over a third of boys (35.8%). (This compares with 36.6% of girls and 28.2% of boys in 2013).
  • 6 in 10 (61.6%) girls enjoy reading either very much or quite a lot compared with 47.2% of boys (compared to 59.8% of girls and 47.1% of boys in 2013).

Nearly one child in four thinks their parents don’t care if they read  

Our research shows there is still more to do to raise awareness among parents of how important their engagement is for their child’s literacy development, particularly among the most disadvantaged children. One child in four (24.3%) surveyed agreed with the statement “my parents don’t care if I spend any time reading”. This increases sharply among pupils who receive free school meals with almost one third (31.5%) agreeing with the statement, compared to 23% of pupils who do not receive free school meals.

Parental engagement with a child’s literacy development is a key contributor to their success. Children who receive free school meals tend to have lower literacy attainment than their peers, pointing to an even greater need for parents in this demographic to encourage their children to read, and to act as reading role models for their children.

Read our press release for more information.

Access the full report Children’s and Young People’s Reading in 2014.

Visit our Words for Life website for tips and resources to help parents support literacy development at home. 

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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.