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Children and young people’s engagement with podcasts before and during lockdown

Added 21 Oct 2020 | Updated 23 Oct 20

This report outlines findings from our tenth Annual Literacy Survey relating to children and young people’s reading in 2020, in addition to findings from our survey of children and young people’s reading during the COVID-19 lockdown.

58,346 children and young people aged 9 to 18 in the UK took part in our Annual Literacy Survey between January and March 2020, while 4,141 children and young people aged 8 to 18 in the UK took part in our survey during lockdown between May and early June 2020.

Key findings

Listening during lockdown

  • Nearly 1 in 4 (23.7%) children and young people said they listened to podcasts or audiobooks more during lockdown than they did before.
  • Reasons given by children and young people for this increase included the extra time they had in their days, the ability of podcasts to assist relaxation and the draw of key role models as podcast creators.

Links with reading for pleasure

  • More children and young people who listen to podcasts enjoy reading (47.8% vs 40.8%) and read daily (30.4% vs 27.0%) than their peers who do not listen to podcasts

Boys and older children listen more

  • 22.7% of boys engaged compared with 16.6% of girls said they listened to podcasts or audiobooks
  • Young people aged 14 and above listen to podcasts than younger peers. Only 1 in 10 (9.1%) children aged 9 to 11 said that they listened to podcasts compared with nearly 4 in 10 (38.7%) young people aged 16 to 18

Children in receipt of free school meals (FSM) are less likely to listen

  • Fewer pupils who receive free school meals listen to podcasts compared with their peers (20.9% vs 14.2%), presenting a potential new opportunity to support these pupils, in engaging with reading.

Take part in our survey

To find out more about young people's engagement with podcasts, we are running a follow-up survey for secondary and post-16 students. Participating schools receive a personalised report of their findings - sign up now.

Find out more about our work on podcast resources and programmes.
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