One in six children do not read a single book per month, according to a new survey by the National Literacy Trust.
The research suggested the United Kingdom is polarised between those who do not read and the one in 10 children who read more than 10 books per month. The NLT said reading frequency has a link to reading attainment, with 80% of children who read more than 10 books per month having an above average level, compared to only 30% of children who rarely read.
Time spent reading also had a link to attainment, with 77% of children who read for longer than an hour above average readers. Only 4% of those who read for more than an hour are below the level expected of them. The research found only 30% of children who read for up to 10 minutes at a time do so at an above average level. A fifth of those children are below the level expected for their age.
The NLT said text messages were the most popular thing for children to read outside of class, with 60% of those surveyed saying they read texts outside of class at least once per month. The survey found those who read text messages but not fiction books are twice as likely to be below average readers (10% compared to 5%).
Jonathan Douglas, director of the National Literacy Trust, said: "Our new research shows that 1 in 6 children don’t read a book in a month, and we are worried that they will grow up to be the 1 in 6 adults who struggle with literacy to the extent that they read to the level expected of an 11-year-old, or below. Getting these children reading and helping them to love reading is the way to turn their lives around and give them new opportunities and aspirations."
The survey polled 18,141 children from across the United Kingdom in November and December 2010.
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