Research Suggests Fewer Children are Reading in Spare Time

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7th October 2013 13:21 - Museums, Libraries and Archives

According to a National Literacy Trust survey, just over a quarter (28.4%) of 35,000 children from 188 schools said that they read outside of school. About the same number (26.6%) said they did not think their parents cared if they read.

Half (50.3%) of those taking part said they enjoyed reading either “very much” or “quite a lot” and four fifths (78.5%) agreed with the statement “the more I read, the better I become”.

Technology-based formats, such as text messages (68.4%), websites (53.2%) and messages on social networking sites (51.1%) are most commonly read outside of class at least once a month. Magazines (53.6%), lyrics (45.6%) and fiction (41.6) are the most common non-technology reading choices.

Nearly two in five (37.7%) agreed reading was “cool”, but about one in three (30.4%) said they only read when they had to.

Findings suggest that young people who enjoy reading “very much” are four times as likely to read above the level expected for their age compared with young people who do not enjoy reading at all. Similarly, young people who read outside of class daily are five times as likely to read above the expected level for their age, compared with young people who never read outside of class.

National Literacy Trust director Jonathan Douglas said:

"Our research not only reveals that children are reading less and developing more negative attitudes towards reading, but also that there is a clear correlation between this and their performance in reading tests."

While Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall said:

"I firmly believe in the importance of igniting a passion for reading in the next generation… In a world where the written word competes with so many other calls on our attention, we need more literacy heroes to keep inspiring young people to find the pleasure and power of reading for themselves.”

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