Research

Annual Literacy Survey 2019 aged 5 to 8: Setting the baseline

Added 18 Sep 2019

In 2019, with support from McDonald’s, we developed a version of our Annual Literacy Survey for younger children aged 5 to 8 to gain an insight into their reading and writing enjoyment, attitudes and behaviours.

3,748 children aged 5 to 8 from across the UK took part in our Annual Literacy Survey between January and March 2019.

This report provides the benchmark on young children’s reading and writing, against which to scope future annual trends of children’s literacy levels.

The findings show that:

  • 76.3% of children aged 5 to 8 enjoy reading and 74.8% enjoy writing in their free time
    • More girls than boys enjoy reading and writing
  • More children read (53.6%) than write daily (43.6%) outside class
    • More girls than boys say they read and write daily outside class
    • Children who enjoy reading and writing are more likely to read and write outside class
  • Children are quite confident in their skills in reading and writing: 78.5% see themselves as good or very good in reading and 75.5% good or very good in writing
    • Girls, those who enjoy reading and writing, and those who read and write daily are more likely to see themselves as good readers and writers
  • Overall, children hold positive attitudes towards reading and writing, however many hold negative attitudes towards reading and writing. For example, 30.0% say that they only read if they have to
    • Girls are more likely to hold positive reading and writing attitudes. Similarly, those who enjoy reading and writing, those who read and write daily, and those who see themselves as good readers and writers are more likely to hold positive attitudes
  • Overall, children aged 5 to 8 are more likely to read and write on paper than on a screen
    • While there are some gender differences in what children read and write on paper, it is interesting to note that these differences are marginal if reading on screen and typing are considered