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Celebrating Reading for Enjoyment - Findings from our Annual Literacy Survey 2016

Whether or not children and young people enjoy reading has been a focus of recent research and policy, and evidence is now accumulating that shows that reading enjoyment is beneficial not only for reading outcomes but also for wider learning. 

Reading for enjoyment is not only at the heart of our programmes, but it is also a central element of our research activities. This report pulls together what our evidence tells us about reading enjoyment.

Key findings, based on data from 42,406 pupils aged 8 to 18, include:

  • 1 child in 4 in 2016 said that they enjoy reading very much, with another 1 child in 3 saying that they enjoy reading quite a lot. Overall, nearly 6 children in 10 (58.6%) say that they enjoy reading either very much or quite a lot.
  • While enjoyment levels had been rather stable between 2005 and 2012, they have been rising steadily since 2013, and in 2016 we recorded the highest percentage of reading enjoyment levels. Levels in 2016 were 14% higher than they were in 2005.
  • Children who enjoy reading are more likely to do better at reading than their peers who don’t enjoy it. At age 14, children who enjoy reading have an average reading age of 15.3 years, while those who don’t enjoy reading have an average reading age of just 12 years, a difference of 3.3 years.
  • Nearly twice as many children aged 8 to 11 than those aged 14 to 16 said that they enjoy reading (77.6% vs. 43.8%).
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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.