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News story

Owning books boosts children’s literacy and mental wellbeing

07 Dec 2018

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Our new research, published today, shows that the more books a child owns, the more likely they are to do well at school and be happy with their lives.

Based on a survey of 44,097 children aged 8-18 in the UK, our Book ownership, literacy engagement and mental wellbeing report found that:

  • Children who have 60 or more books at home are 5.5 times more likely to read above the level expected for their age than their peers who have fewer than 10 books
  • Children who read above the level expected for their age have twice as many books as those who read below the expected level
  • Children who have a book of their own at home have higher levels of mental wellbeing than those who don’t have any books

However, children and young people from disadvantaged backgrounds are at risk of missing out on the educational and health benefits of book ownership:

  • 1 in 8 disadvantaged children in the UK don’t own a single book, compared to 1 in 11 children nationally
  • Of children who own books, those from disadvantaged backgrounds have 25% fewer books on average than their more affluent peers

We've launched our Christmas Stories fundraising campaign today, which will give some of the UK’s most disadvantaged children their very first book this Christmas.

How can you support the National Literacy Trust’s Christmas Stories campaign?

“This Christmas, we are giving books to hundreds of children and families who need them the most. But we need your help if we are to get books into the hands of the 744,647 children and young people across the UK who don’t have a single one. By donating to the National Literacy Trust this Christmas, you can set a disadvantaged child on the path to a brighter future.”

Jonathan Douglas, Director, National Literacy Trust
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