New report reveals crucial link between children’s reading skills and their ability to manage money

29 Mar 2019
Writing - Young City Poets

This Global Money Week, we have published a new report which looks at how children’s reading skills, their ability to manage money and their attitudes towards school are linked.

Our Reading and financial capability report, funded by the Hymans Robertson Foundation, uncovered a crucial link between children’s reading skills and their ability to manage money, offering new hope for efforts to stem the UK’s debt epidemic which sees 37% of young people living in debt*.

We found that children and young people who have good reading skills are four times more likely to have good financial skills than their peers who have poor reading skills (35.6% vs 8.8%)2. The same is true at the other end of the scale, with children who have poor reading skills four times as likely to also have poor financial skills (56.3% vs 12.3%).

Our survey of 2,943 primary and secondary school students found that children and young people generally think and behave positively when it comes to reading and financial matters: 93.6% agreed that it is important to learn how to manage your money, while 77.3% said they read outside class every week.

We also found that the degree to which children don’t give up – their perseverance – is a direct predictor of skills in reading and financial capability. This finding is particularly significant in light of new ambitions set out by the Department for Education to help every child access activities that will help them build character and resilience, and an Ofsted framework under consultation to help education better prepare children and young people for adulthood.

“We’ve long known that reading plays an important role in children’s educational success, mental wellbeing and even life expectancy. But we now know that reading is also fundamental to children’s ability to manage money – a skill that is increasingly important in preparing children for adulthood in a rapidly changing world. A third of young people in the UK are living in debt, and even more find it harder to manage their money than expected*. Our research shows that the key to strengthening young people’s reading and financial skills lies in perseverance, and books are a fantastic way to help children develop this quality. The more children read and enjoy books, the brighter their financial futures will be.”

Jonathan Douglas, Director, National Literacy Trust

Download our Reading and financial capability report.

We also have a range of free resources and ideas for parents and teachers to help encourage children and young people to read for enjoyment.

* Money Advice Trust (2016) Borrowed Years