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Children and Young People’s Listening in 2023

Added 07 Dec 2023 | Updated 05 Feb 24

Teen listening with headphones

The National Literacy Trust began reporting on children and young people’s listening in 2020, and 2023 is the first year where we can report on listening trends year-on-year. The following report, based on our Annual Literacy Survey of 71,351 children and young people aged 5 to 18, outlines those findings, showing how listening enjoyment and behaviours have changed, while also providing deeper insight into listening in 2023.

For the first time this year, we also asked children and young people whether they enjoyed hearing stories in formats other than listening to audiobooks or podcasts, such as being told a story by a teacher or family member. In addition, we looked at possible connections between listening enjoyment and listening confidence.

Key findings

  • 2 in 5 (39.4%) children and young people aged 8 to 18 enjoyed listening to audio in 2023.
    • This was a slight increase from 2022 (37.5%) but still lower than 2021 (43.8%).
    • As in previous years. this is slightly lower than reading (43.4%) but slightly higher than writing (34.6%).
  • Nearly 1 in 2 (46.0%) children and young people listened to audio at least once a week.
  • 1 in 2 (50.5%) children and young people enjoyed listening to stories.
    • Of those who enjoy hearing stories, more than half of children and young people aged 14 (50.7% of those aged 14 to 16 and 50.8% of those aged 16 to 18) enjoy hearing a story read to them by a parent or carer, and over 2 in 5 (42.4% of those aged 14-16 and 41.5% of those aged 16 to 18) read by a teacher or librarian.
  • Slightly more boys than girls said they enjoyed listening to audio (40.6% vs 37.8%) and slightly more of those who didn’t receive Free School Meals (FSMs) said they enjoyed listening to audio compared with those who did (40.0% vs 37.6%).
  • More of those who enjoyed listening to audio also enjoyed reading in their free time compared with those who didn’t enjoy listening (52.2% vs. 37.6%).
  • Listening behaviours correlated with increased listening confidence: 85.2% of those who enjoyed listening said that they were good listeners compared with 73.2% of those who did not enjoy listening,
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