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Book Ownership in 2021

Added 12 Nov 2021 | Updated 30 Nov 23

Research has shown that book ownership has a significant impact on life outcomes. In 2019, we found that that children who reported that they had a book of their own were not only more engaged with reading but also six times more likely to read above the level expected for their age than children who didn’t own a book (22% vs. 3.6%).

We included a question on book ownership in our Annual Literacy Survey, which was conducted between January and March 2021. Based on the responses of the 34,435 children and young people who answered this question:

  • Almost 6% of children and young people said they didn’t have a book of their own at home – this equates to 413,068 children and young people in the UK
  • More children who receive free school meals (FSMs) said that they didn’t have a book of their own at home compared with their peers who don’t receive FSMs (9.2% vs. 5.3%)
  • Book ownership was associated with greater reading enjoyment and frequency. More than twice as many of those who had a book of their own said that they enjoyed reading (52.8% vs. 21.1%), and more than twice as many read daily in their free time (31.8% vs. 13.5%) compared with those who didn’t have a book of their own.
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