Record number of teenagers say they enjoy reading

1st June 2017 at 00:01
More than half of 11-14 year-olds say they like to read, a new survey finds – and the longer they read, the greater the benefits

The number of teenagers who say they enjoy reading has reached a record high, according to a new survey by the National Literacy Trust.

While younger children were most likely to say they enjoy reading, more than half (55.2 per cent) of pupils aged 11-14 who were surveyed by the charity said they liked to read – the highest proportion since the survey began in 2005.

And 43.8 per cent of 14 to 16-year-olds said they enjoyed reading – another record high.

Based on a survey of more than 41,000 pupils, the research report, Celebrating Reading for Enjoyment, found that 77.6 per cent of 8 to 11-year-olds were happy to read.

'A responsibility and a real opportunity'

“We are thrilled that our research has found students’ enjoyment of reading to be at an all-time high,” said Jonathan Douglas, director of the National Literacy Trust.

“But we mustn’t be complacent. When students enjoy reading, they do significantly better at school, at work and beyond. But with around half of secondary students still not enjoying reading, we have a responsibility and a real opportunity to keep young people’s love of reading alive and open doors for them for a lifetime.”

The trust found that the longer children continue to enjoy reading, the greater the benefits.

Ten-year-old book-lovers had a reading age that is 1.3 years ahead of their classmates who dislike reading, and by age 14 this gap widened to 3.3 years, the trust found.

The report comes after an evaluation of a literacy programme, led by teaching assistants (TAs) and aiming to help pupils who struggle with reading, was found to have no impact.

The Education Endowment Foundation funded the evaluation of Switch-on, a ten-week scheme which involves TAs working one-to-one with pupils.

An earlier evaluation found pupils in Year 7 made an average of three months’ additional progress. But when the trial was scaled up, evaluators from the National Centre for Social Research found children on the scheme made no more progress than those in the control group.

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