The number of children and young people who read every day and the percentage of those who read for pleasure have declined, according to research carried out by the National Literacy Trust (NLT) for World Book Day (WBD).
According to data released today (5th March), based on provisional data from the NLT’s ninth Annual Literacy Survey of 27,945 children and young people, just over a quarter (25.7%) of those aged 8-18 read every day, compared to 43% in 2015.
The percentage of children and young people who say they read for pleasure has also declined, falling to 52.5%. In 2016, that figure stood at 58.8%.
World Book Day reaches 15 million children and young people and, according to the NLT research, can help stem the downward trend in children’s reading practices. Children who took part in WBD last year were more likely to enjoy reading than their peers (78.7% versus 56.1%) and twice as likely to read daily outside school (47.7% versus 24.1%). A third of children said they read more with their parents as a result of WBD (34.5%).
Kirsten Grant, director of WBD, said: “We know that a love of reading can transform a child's future, helping them to do well at school, get a good job and live a happy and successful life - and yet these figures from the NLT tell us that reading for pleasure is in long-term decline. That is why we are calling on parents and carers everywhere to put reading together at the heart of their WBD activities this year.”
The organisation is this year working with the NLT to take the Share a Story live tour to areas with low levels of literacy, including Dundee, Bradford, Swindon and Manchester.
Jonathan Douglas, director of the NLT, said: “World Book Day is the most successful public awareness campaign campaign for celebrating books and reading. We’re delighted that WBD is bringing their Share a Story Live events to four communities across the UK where we work with local partners to transform lives through literacy. These wonderful events will help to inspire thousands of children to fall in love with reading by putting books into children’s hands.”
WBD, which will take place this year on Thursday 7th March,is also distributing £1 books to prisons in England and Wales for prisoners to read with visiting children.