Booked Up, the government-funded programme that gives a free book to Year 7 pupils, has found that more than half of students read books more often as a result of taking part in the initiative.
The evaluation of the programme was carried out by Booktrust, which also administers Booked Up, and research firm ERS. It found that more than 90% of pupils think that Booked Up is a good idea.
Some 16% of boys and 28% of girls said that they visit their public library more often since taking part in the programme. Before Booked Up, almost 60% of the pupils surveyed were members of their local library, while 32% of pupils visited libraries in their spare time. After Booked Up, an additional 24% said that they were encouraged to join a library.
Some 56% of the students were encouraged to visit bookshops more often, with more than one third (36%) reporting that the scheme had led them to buy books for themselves or recommend the purchase of books to friends and family. In addition, 64% of boys and 78% of girls claimed that it has encouraged them to try reading a new author.
When asked what the barriers to reading were, 58% of children stated that they would read more if they had more spare time, with socialising on the internet and in person taking priority. More than half (57%) said they would read more if they had more books that interested them.