The older children are, the less likely they are to read

The older children are, the less likely they are to read, according to a survey carried out by the UK’s National Literacy Trust. ┬áThe researchers, who asked a sample of 8 to 17-year-olds about their out of school reading habits, found the following worrying results:

– While one in 10 children claimed to have read 10 books in the last month, 13% had not read any at all.

– Boys are nearly twice as likely to say they never read than girls.

– Only 29% of all children read every day.

– 19% had never been given a book as a present

– 12% had never been to a bookshop.

– 7% had never been to a library.

Materials read outside of class

These results contrast starkly with the statistics for reading websites and email.

50% of respondents said they read emails and websites at least once a month, while 27% read comics.
Magazines have overtaken both fiction and non-fiction books.

Some might argue that as long as kids are reading something, then the medium isn’t really that important. Indeed, comics and cartoons can be an effective lead-in to fiction books. However this doesn’t address the issue that a large portion of pre-teens and teenagers just aren’t reading at all.

Earlier this year, the UK’s education secretary, Michael Gove, said children aged 11 should be reading 50 books a year, in line with the objectives that had been laid out for the charter schools in the US. We know that these issues are not just limited to the UK, though. They are present in the entire English-speaking world. It remains to be seen what governments will do to solve the problem. Clearly something needs to be done, and now.

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