Children's daily reading levels are the lowest we've ever recorded, our new research finds

06 Mar 2020
girl reading

World Book Day is a time for celebration across the country, where schools, families, authors and charities come together to enjoy the magic of books and stories.

This World Book Day was no exception here at the National Literacy Trust - we worked with thousands of children across the country in areas like Manchester, Middlesbrough, Hastings, Doncaster and more, and were joined by amazing authors like Cressida Cowell, Dermot O'Leary, Humza Arshad and lots more.

World Book Day is also a good opportunity to reflect on the nation's reading as a whole. We have been tracking children's reading for over 15 years through our Annual Literacy Survey, where we ask tens of thousands of children each year what they think about reading, how often they read and whether they enjoy reading.

This year's research revealed the starkest picture yet. The research found that:

  • only 26% of children said they read daily in their free time. This is the lowest level we have ever recorded
  • just over half (53%) of children and young people said they enjoyed reading either "very much or "quite a lot". This is the lowest level we have recorded since 2013

The research shows that enjoying reading and reading daily has a positive relationship with children's reading abilities. Children who enjoy reading are three times more likely to read above the level expected for their age than children who don’t enjoy it, and those who read daily in their free time are twice as likely to read above the expected level.

World Book Day 2020 was a huge success, resulting in over 600,000 stories being shared across the UK. This new research shows how vital it is to continue this work all year round.