Reading for pleasure in decline

Written by: Emma Lee-Potter | Published:
Image: Adobe Stock

The number of children and young people who enjoy reading and read daily outside school is in decline, a new study has revealed.

Research published by the National Literacy Trust for World Book Day last week (March 7) found that just over half (52.5 per cent) of eight to 18-year-olds read for pleasure, compared to nearly 59 per cent in 2016. Only a quarter (25.7 per cent) read every day, compared to 43 per cent in 2015.

Previous academic studies have shown that reading for pleasure is the single biggest indicator of a child’s future success – more so than their family circumstances or their parents’ educational background and income.

With that in mind, Kirsten Grant, director of World Book Day, has urged parents and carers to spend 10 minutes a day sharing books with children.

“We know that a love of reading can transform a child’s future, helping them to do well at school, get a good job and live a happy and successful life,” she said.

“We all know how important it is to our children’s health to give them their five a day – and it’s just as important for their wellbeing to read with them for 10 a day. Our ambition is to restore reading for pleasure as a celebrated national pleasure for all.”

The National Literacy Trust survey, which involved nearly 28,000 children and young people, showed that World Book Day has a major impact on reading. The event reaches 15 million youngsters in 45,000 schools every year and children who took part last year were much more likely to enjoy reading than their peers and twice as likely to read daily outside school.

Meanwhile, another recent study, Nielsen Book Research’s annual survey into the reading habits of children, revealed that the majority of boys and more than half of girls in every age group preferred using and watching screens to reading books.


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