Children do not see themselves represented in the books they read

A third of children do not see themselves represented in the books they read, struggling to find characters who look similar or share similar characteristics or circumstances.

The findings come in a report from the National Literacy Trust (Best et al, 2020) based on responses from more than 58,000 young people aged nine to 18 from 315 UK schools.

The results reveal that 33 per cent of the respondents said that they did not “see themselves” in what they read. This rises to 37 per cent for children living in poverty, 40 per cent for those from ethnic minority backgrounds, and 46 per cent for young people from Black backgrounds. The issue is of more concern to younger pupils, aged nine to 11, the research notes.

Gender identity is also an area with poor representation in children’s literature, the report adds. It states: “This could be a particular issue for those struggling with their gender identity or suffering discrimination or bullying.”

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