Annual Literacy Survey

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Since 2010, we have conducted an annual literacy survey of more than 40,000 children and young people, aged 8-18, from across the UK. This survey provides essential data on children’s literacy behaviours, attitudes and enjoyment levels, which allows us to track annual trends and provides a consistent national measure of children’s literacy. This data provides an essential evidence base and informs all of the National Literacy Trust’s campaigning and programmatic work.

We conducted our latest Annual Literacy Survey between January and April 2022. This year's survey was our most popular to date, with 70,403 children and young people aged 5 to 18 taking part. We will be reporting on these findings throughout the year. Sign up to our newsletter to be notified when reports are released.

Key findings for 2021

Despite the ongoing pandemic and disruptions to schools, 42,502 children and young people aged 8 to 18 from 117 UK schools participated in this online survey.

  • Reading for enjoyment

    1 in 2 (51.5%) children and young people said that they enjoyed reading. This is slightly lower than the percentage we recorded during the first spring lockdown in 2020 (55.9%), but higher than levels at the beginning of 2020 when we evidenced the lowest level of reading enjoyment (47.8%) since we first asked this question in 2005. Read more.

  • Audio

    1 in 4 (25.4%) children and young people are listening to audiobooks, with 1 in 8 (12.8%) listening to just audiobooks and a further 1 in 8 (12.6%) listening to both audiobooks and podcasts. A further 1 in 4 (23.3%) children and young people listen to just podcasts, meaning nearly 1 in 2 (48.7%) listened to some form of audio. Read more.

  • Writing enjoyment

    1 in 3 (34.5%) children and young people said that they enjoy writing. This is the lowest level of writing enjoyment we have recorded since we first asked this question in 2010. Read more.

  • Video Games

    3 in 5 (58.4%) children and young people said they had talked to or messaged friends more while playing video games in early 2021. Read more.

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Key reports

View all reports

Take part in the Annual Literacy Survey

Schools that participate get their own individual school report that outlines your basic findings, which you can compare nationally once the national reports are published.

You could use your report to:

  • Inform your literacy and numeracy strategy
  • Give as supporting evidence to OFSTED
  • Review your current provision

Our 2022 survey is now closed, but if you sign up to our newsletter you will be notified when registration opens for 2023.

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