More pupils reading for pleasure


New research by The National Literacy Trust shows that increasing numbers of children are choosing to read in their spare time, with six in 10 having a favourite work of fiction.

The fifth annual survey of 32,000 children and young people aged between eight and 18 suggests enjoyment and frequency of reading are both at their highest levels for nine years and attributes the rise to initiatives such as Bookstart, the Summer Reading Challenge, its own Young Readers Programme and the work of a series of children's authors who have campaigned as children's laureates.

However, a persistent gender gap between girls and boys has also been found, with 46.5% of girls saying they read daily outside class, compared with 35.8% of boys.

Girls were also more likely to say they enjoyed reading very much or quite a lot: 61.6%, compared with 47.1% of boys.

Overall, more than half (55.2%) of children said they preferred watching television to reading, and almost a quarter (24.3%) believed their parents did not care if they spent time reading, rising to 31.5% among children on free school meals.

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.

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.
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