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Our research programme and services

Annual literacy trackers

Children and young people

Every year our large-scale national survey asks UK children and young people about reading, writing, speaking and listening.

As the only one of its kind in the world, this survey helps us build a picture of their literacy habits and opinions over time. It puts us in a position to offer unique insights like, for example, children’s and young people’s reading enjoyment and frequency has increased slowly over the past couple of years but, at the same time, levels of writing enjoyment and frequency have declined significantly.

We established the survey in 2010 building it on a range of surveys we’ve conducted since 2005. Around 35,000 children and young people aged 8 to 18 take part annually.

If you’d like your school to take part, find out more.

If you would like to insert questions in our annual literacy survey email 


Every year we also conduct a national survey of parents to help us track the influences within the home of children aged 3 to 5. We are particularly interested in exploring the role of touchscreen technologies in supporting emergent literacy in the home environment.

Read our parents reports.

Issues-led research

Using a variety of research approaches, from literature reviews and surveys to interviews and focus group discussions, we also conduct research into specific literacy issues for a variety of third sector and corporate clients.

Email if you are interested in commissioning some literacy research.

Recent research includes:

  • Education Endowment Fund - Literature review and stakeholder survey to explore the role of business volunteers in schools, commissioned by
  • Save the Children - Mapping of what it means to be a reader at age 11
  • City of Manchester  - Survey of children’s and young people’s reading in Manchester to support the Manchester Read Campaign
  • RM Books - Study that explored the impact of access to an ebooks platform on pupils’ reading motivation and skills
  • BBC - A rapid review of Children’s and Young People’s Literacy in 2015: Understanding the need and an overview of previous literacy campaigns


Evaluating our work

Our outcomes framework and question bank drive our evaluations. We developed them to harmonise the study of impact across the Trust.

Following the development of logical models for each programme or campaign, we use a rigorous mixed method approach, using survey as well as interview/focus group discussion data, to gather information that provides us with the most comprehensive insight into what works and what doesn’t work.

Our evaluations directly inform the development of our projects and the delivery of targeted and effective interventions for communities and children who need them the most.

While most of our evaluations are conducted in-house by the research team, a number of our programmes have also been evaluated independently.

If you are a school and you are interested in becoming involved in our evaluation activities, such as becoming a control group school, then please get in touch here.


Bespoke evaluations of literacy programmes or products on a commission basis

We can also offer our research expertise to give you comprehensive insight into your literacy programme or product’s impact on a range of audiences. We have specialist knowledge of engaging with children and young people and a track record of working in schools and other settings.

Email if you are interested in commissioning us to undertake an evaluation for you

Some recent evaluations:

  • First News - Evaluation of the impact of  the “First News” newspaper on children’s literacy engagement, literacy skill and interest in news
  • The Reading Agency/DfE - Evaluation of Chatterbooks, a primary school book club project, and its impact on children’s reading enjoyment, reading behaviours, and book talk. 
  • Renaissance Learning - Analysis of the link between Accelerated Reader and pupils’ reading enjoyment, reading attitudes and reading behaviour over time
  • RM Books - Evaluation of the impact of an ebooks platform on the reading motivation and reading skills of children and young people

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.