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News story

Survey shows improvements in reading habits of Stoke secondary school pupils

26 Feb 2018

As World Book Day is celebrated on Thursday 1 March, new research has been released showing improvements in the reading attitudes and behaviours of secondary school pupils in Stoke-on-Trent. 

A survey of Stoke pupils was carried when the Stoke Reads campaign was launched by the National Literacy Trust and Stoke-on-Trent City Council in November 2016. The same survey was repeated a year later, showing positive changes:

Non-readers have turned into book lovers:

  • A quarter of young people aged 11 to 16 who said they did not enjoy reading in 2016 said they enjoyed it either very much or quite a lot when surveyed again in 2017. 
Infrequent readers have become regular readers:

  • More than half (53%) of those who said they rarely or never read in the first year said they read at least once a week a year later. 

The survey also points to improvements in how pupils perceive their reading ability. 50% of students who rated their reading as not very good at all in the first year rated their skill as either okay or good one year on. Boys in particular benefited over time, with 62% of boys and 33% of girls perceiving improvements in their reading abilities. 

Supported by the City Learning Trust, Stoke Reads brings together partners across the city to promote reading and boost literacy levels. Secondary schools are a particular focus, with a range of activity taking place over the past year. In 2017, the Stoke Reads On lists of 101 books to read at secondary school was published to inspire students to read more often and more widely. Teachers have also been supported with professional development training and mentoring. 

Celebrating World Book Day 


On World Book Day every pupil in the city will receive a £1 book token, which can be exchanged for a World Book Day book or used to get £1 off a full price book. Thousands of children across the city will dress up as their favourite book characters and enjoy fun reading activities. Stoke-on-Trent schools are planning to celebrate in a range of different ways:  

  • Discovery Academy are holding a sponsored read on World Book Day to raise money for their Harry Potter-themed BookBench, as part of the BookBench trail coming to the city in 2019 as part of Stoke Reads
  • Sutherland Academy will be hosting a visit from Amy Bradley, illustrator of Penguinpig. Amy will talk about her career as an illustrator and run a workshop teaching the pupils how to draw their own Penguinpig
  • Students at Haywood Academy will be attempting the 100 Million Minute reading challenge to celebrate World Book Day, with students across the school competing to read for as many minutes as they can
  • St Margaret Ward Catholic Academy pupils will be holding a book fair and book quiz, as well as taking part in an arts and crafts project to create literary-themed shoeboxes

Stoke-on-Trent Libraries will also be celebrating World Book Day. At City Central Library, every family with a child under four who visits the library during the week will be given a World Book Day £1 token. At other Stoke-on-Trent libraries, any child under four who attends a regular Singing Bears, Bouncing Bears, Story Bears or any other preschool activity session will also receive a token. The Little Library Van will also be visiting local school Etruscan Primary School to share stories and books with the pupils.

Councillor Janine Bridges, Cabinet Member for Education and Economy said: “World Book Day is a fantastic opportunity to get children excited about reading, and is an excellent initiative which highlights the value of reading from an early age. It is wonderful that families, schools and nurseries across the city are taking part in a very worthwhile day.”

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