Education & Family

Novels read monthly by 'less than one in two children'

Boy reading
Boys preferred reading comics and newspapers

Fewer than 50% of UK children aged eight to 17 read a novel outside class every month, research suggests.

The National Literacy Trust survey of about 18,000 school children suggests youngsters are more likely to read text messages and emails than fiction.

Most children (28.9%) estimated they had between 11 and 50 books in their homes.

But one in six said they rarely read outside the classroom.

Texts and emails

According to the survey carried out at 111 schools in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, nearly one in five children have never been given a book as a present. This was more common for boys than girls.

And about one in eight claimed they had never been to a bookshop and some 7% said they had never visited a library.

However, just under half of all children surveyed said they enjoyed reading a lot. Only one in 10 said they did not like it at all.

Text messages, magazines, emails and websites were the top leisure reading choices of young people. But Ebooks were read the least frequently.

The findings show that more girls admit they read text messages, magazines, emails, fiction, song lyrics and social networking message boards and poems than boys, while more boys said they read newspapers, comics and manuals.

The survey also raises concerns that some youngsters are not reading at all, which can hinder their achievement in the classroom.

One in six (16.4%) said they "rarely" read outside class, while 7.3% admitted that they never read outside class.

Trust director Jonathan Douglas said he was worried the youngsters who did not for pleasure would "grow up to be the one in six adults who struggle with literacy".

He added: "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."

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