Record numbers of children enjoy reading

Posted on Thursday, June 1, 2017

Schools that have been working hard to promote reading for pleasure should take heart from new research showing that enjoyment of reading among children has reached a record high - although teenagers remain a challenge!

The research, undertaken by the National Literacy Trust, was conducted during 2016 and is based on data from 42,406 pupils aged 8 to 18 years. The report, Celebrating Reading for Enjoyment, indicates that three quarters (78%) of primary school children enjoy reading. However, more work needs to be done at secondary level where the report found a distinct and sharp fall off in reading for pleasure among teenagers. While some 72% of boys aged 8-11 years said that they enjoyed reading, this halved to 36% among 14 to 16 year old boys. Among girls, enjoyment fell from 83% among 8-11 year olds to 53% among those aged 14 to 16 years. There is also a gender divide with only a third of boys aged 14 to 16 enjoy reading compared with over a half of girls of that age. However, the 44% of 14 to 16-year-olds who said they did enjoy reading was another record high for this age group. The research also highlights the link between enjoyment of reading and attainment, with enjoyment of reading putting children over three years ahead in the classroom. The data shows that 10-year-olds who enjoy reading have a reading age 1.3 years higher than their peers who don't enjoy reading, rising to 2.1 years for 12-year-olds and 3.3 years for 14-year-olds. Interestingly, a pupil's socioeconomic background, using free school meal (FSM) uptake as a proxy, was not associated with enjoyment of reading. The same percentage of pupils who receive free school meals as those who do not - 58% - said that they enjoy reading either very much or quite a lot. You can download the full report here:

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