Children's reading pushed out in favour of other activities

7 September 2012

Children are reading less than they did in 2005, as their lives get more crowded with other activities, new research suggests.

Today just three-in-10 children read daily in their own time compared with four-in-10 young people seven years ago, according to a National Literacy Trust survey of 21,000 children and teenagers.


[Related article: Old fashioned children's games endangered]

More than one in five (22%) of those questioned said they rarely or never read in their own time, while 17 per cent said they would even be embarrassed if their friends saw them reading.

Despite the proportion of children who said they enjoyed reading very much or quite a lot has remained the same since 2005 - at around 50 per cent - more than half of those questioned (54%) said they preferred watching TV to reading.

In 2005, some 77 per cent of children read magazines, but now the figure is 57 per cent.

Comic reading has also dropped from 64 per cent in 2005 to 50 per cent today, and reading on websites has fallen from 64 per cent to 50 per cent, according to the findings.

The National Literacy Trust said the results of the survey highlighted "a clear issue with children's leisure time with many children enjoying reading but pushing it out in favour of other activities".

Research has shown a clear link between reading outside of class and children’s achievement, it said.

And added that young people who read outside of class daily were 13 times more likely to read above the expected level for their age.


[Related article: Text speak isn't bad for kids' grammar]


Children in the UK are currently ranked 25th out of 65 developed countries in reading.

Jonathan Douglas, director of the National Literacy Trust said: "The fact that children are reading less than in 2005 signals a worrying shift in young people’s literacy habits. We are calling for the Government to back a campaign to halt this reading decline and to give children time to read in their daily lives.

"We believe we need to inspire a new generation to read in the same way that the Olympics is inspiring a new generation to take part in sport.

We need to make reading irresistible. We want to call on families and professionals working with children and young people to make ten minutes in their day for reading."

What to read next

Stop Paying Interest on Your Credit Cards

More affordable alternative to Credit Card interest. Low fixed rate Personal Loan – as low as 5.99% APR. $1,000 - $35,000. Compare lenders and save.

Single and over 45?

There are thousands of singles online now! Find your next date here. Click to browse profiles and pics for free!

Want to Start Dating?

Hey! Are you a part of the 1 in 3 Americans that are single? This Dating site is completely free to check it out! Give it a try!

Hilton HHonors™ Card

Get 75,000 Hilton HHonors™ Bonus Points! Terms Apply. Offer ends 5/4

Barbra Streisand: Remembering Babs – 73 years

The trophies bear the the names: Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony.