Children look to influencers for reading inspiration, survey finds

Children look to influencers for reading inspiration, survey finds

A survey conducted by the Reading Agency has found that children across the UK look to social media influencers and YouTube to find inspiration for reading.

The survey found that 45% of children polled turn to YouTube for ideas, while 28% defer to social media platforms.

Traditional media is also an influence, with 27% of children inspired by books advertised on TV, and 18% encouraged by the radio. 

More broadly, the survey showcases lockdown reading trends, which show a preference for traditional chaptered books at 61%, followed by 40% of children favouring comics. Almost a fifth of children who participated said talking to friends about their book choices made them feel connected, with 40% turning to reading as a way of relaxing.

Just under 90% of children surveyed aged seven to 11 reported they had been reading in some form during lockdown, with 70% of girls declaring their love of it compared with 68% of boys. 

The survey was commissioned by The Reading Agency and carried out by Beano Brain Omnibus. The sample size was 14,461, weighted to a nationally representative selection of 11,310, with participants from across the UK. The questions were asked between 4th and 26th May. 

The survey was conducted ahead of the Summer Reading Challenge, which launches today with a virtual event. In response to the pandemic, the challenge has been extended to run until September. This year's challenge encourages children aged four to 11 to choose six books that make them laugh, in keeping with the theme of "silly squad".

Cressida Cowell, Waterstone’s Children’s Laureate and an ambassador for the  Summer Reading Challenge 2020, said: “I'm delighted to be an ambassador for The Reading Agency's Summer Reading Challenge this year to help spread the Silly Squad message and encourage children to sign up and get involved. I’ve been a huge supporter of the Summer Reading Challenge for many years, because it gives children an opportunity to try something new, guided by experts.

"It’s when times are hardest that we need the transformative magic of reading the most, and the Silly Squad Summer Reading Challenge can really help children have fun even in difficult and anxious times.”