1 in 8 disadvantaged children in the UK don’t own a single book

06 Dec 2017
Change a child’s life story this Christmas

1 in 8 of the nation’s most disadvantaged children say they don’t have a book of their own at home, according to new research we have published today to launch our Christmas Stories campaign. 

Further analysis reveals that a staggering three-quarters of a million (770,129) UK school children don’t own a book. Of these children, those who receive free school meals, boys of all ages and teenagers are the most likely to say they have no books of their own at home.

The research report, Book ownership and reading outcomes, found that children who own a book are 15 times more likely to read above the level expected for their age and are four times less likely to read below the expected level.

The report marks the launch of our Christmas Stories campaign, which aims to give some of the UK’s most disadvantaged children their very first book this Christmas. 

Best-selling author and illustrator, Cressida Cowell, is leading the Christmas Stories campaign. The National Literacy Trust Ambassador said: 

“Opening a new book for the very first time still fills me with the same excitement and anticipation that it did as a child. Not only do books enable children to discover new worlds, meet new people and learn about the past, but they also have the power to transform lives. By sparking imaginations, stimulating critical thinking, and helping develop empathy, reading gives children the very literacy skills they need to succeed at school, at work and in life.  

“Yet far too many children from some of the poorest families in the UK are missing out on the chance to reach their potential for one simple reason – they don’t have a single book of their own at home. Just one book can make a huge difference. By joining me in supporting the National Literacy Trust’s Christmas Stories campaign, you can help a disadvantaged child unwrap their very first book this Christmas.”

Jonathan Douglas, our Director, said:

“Books have the power to transform children’s lives, which is why it is so alarming to discover that more than three-quarters of a million children in the UK don’t have a single book to call their own. Getting books in to the hands of children and helping them discover a love of reading is at the very heart of everything we do. By donating to the National Literacy Trust this Christmas, you could help give a disadvantaged child their first ever book and set them on the path to a brighter future.”