Author visits provide vital opportunities to engage children and young people with literacy. In 2023, we asked children and young people whether they had had an author visit in their school, and then investigated how this related to their engagement with, and enjoyment of, reading and writing. Findings showed that:
- 1 in 5 (21.3%) children and young people aged 8 to 18 said that they had had an author visit their school, down 5.6 percentage points from 2019.
- More children and young people who had experienced an author visit told us that they enjoyed reading in their free time compared with their peers who hadn’t experienced one (58.6% vs. 39.3%).
- The same pattern was found for enjoying writing in their free time, with more children and young people who had had an author visit saying they enjoyed this compared with those who had not had an author visit (43.2% vs. 32.2%).
- Fewer children and young people from schools with a high percentage of pupils eligible for free school meals (FSMs) said that they had had an author visit (16.7%) compared with children at schools with a medium (21.9%) or low percentage of pupils eligible for FSMs (24.7%).
- This is important as more children and young people who received FSMs who had had an author visit at their school told us that they enjoyed reading in their free time (58.9%) compared with their peers who received FSMs but hadn't had an author visit (36.1%), and their peers who had attended an author event but who didn’t receive FSMs (54.4%).
While we cannot conclude that author visits cause these positive literacy outcomes, the findings suggest a clear link between author visits and increased reading and writing engagement. This link was particularly prevalent for children and young people from economically disadvantaged backgrounds, indicating the importance of providing these opportunities to pupils in schools.