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News story

New research shows Stoke pupils enjoy reading less as they get older

30 May 2017

Haywood Academy

We’ve launched new research which reveals the reading habits and attitudes of 4,705 children and young people in Stoke-on-Trent.

The survey, which was carried out as part of our Stoke Reads campaign which was created in partnership with Stoke-on-Trent City Council, found that while 60% of pupils across the city enjoy reading, just 41% read every day outside school.

The findings highlight a significant drop between the number of primary and secondary school pupils who enjoy reading and read regularly:

  • 76% of Key Stage 2 pupils (age 8-11) say they enjoy reading, which drops to 55% among Key Stage 3 pupils (age 11-14). At Key Stage 4 (age 14-16), this figure falls to just 44%
  • 46% of Key Stage 2 pupils read daily outside class, compared with 37% of Key Stage 3 pupils and 39% of Key Stage 4 pupils

Our research shows there is an important link between reading enjoyment and attainment. Children and young people who enjoy reading very much are three times more likely to read above the expected level for their age, compared with those who don’t enjoy reading at all.

To address the survey findings and inspire older pupils in Stoke-on-Trent to enjoy reading, a new list of recommended books to read at secondary school has been compiled by the Stoke Reads campaign. The ‘Stoke Reads On’ poster splits 101 titles into nine different genres including ‘true lives’ and ‘magical worlds’, encouraging pupils to explore different books to suit their interests.

Copies of the poster will be given to every secondary school in the city, and can also be picked up at Stoke libraries, where every title on the list is available. The poster can also be downloaded and printed from home. ‘Stoke Reads On’ follows the popular ‘Stoke 100 Reads’ list of books to read before leaving primary school, which was launched in 2016.

It’s really positive to see that almost two thirds of children in Stoke say they enjoy reading, but the gap between primary and secondary pupils shows there is real work to be done. The ‘Stoke Reads On’ list encourages secondary pupils to explore a range of different books that interest them at their own pace. We hope it will inspire them to enjoy reading more regularly, which will have an important impact on their attainment

Jason Vit, Literacy Hubs Manager at the National Literacy Trust

Stoke Reads On is a great initiative to encourage reading for pleasure to this age group, at a time in their lives when there is less emphasis on reading for fun and more on homework and school projects. It is a great follow-on to the Stoke 100 Reads, which along with our Summer Reading Challenge encourages primary school children to join and borrow books from the library. Our Little Library Van also launched in 2016 and has been a huge success with children and families and is in constant demand. We are reaching our communities and helping them to discover the joy of reading and sharing stories

Janet Thursfield, Strategic Manager for Libraries and Archives at Stoke-on-Trent City Council

As an English specialist, it is disheartening to see that as our young people get older, their enjoyment for reading decreases. It is vital that we don't lose sight of promoting the importance of reading for pleasure with our young people. If we can work together as a city to find to new ways of engaging and exciting young people with reading books, we will drastically improve literacy and communication levels across Stoke-on-Trent. I am excited to campaign for reading for enjoyment within my school, trial new strategies to generate a buzz for reading, and ultimately break the trend that we are currently seeing in Stoke-on-Trent

Heather Holt, English teacher at Haywood Academy

The new list of books is just one of the ways the Stoke Reads campaign is striving to improve literacy attitudes and outcomes at secondary schools across the city. All schools in Stoke have also become members of the National Literacy Trust Network, which provides support and training for teachers. As part of their membership, teachers have taken part in the National Literacy Trust’s Language and Literacy within the Curriculum training, which provides both literacy leaders and teachers of other subjects with strategies to improve literacy in their schools.

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