Research

Children and young people’s reading in 2019

Added 05 Mar 2020

This report outlines findings from our ninth Annual Literacy Survey relating to children and young people’s reading.

56,906 children and young people aged nine to 18 in the UK participated in our survey between January to March 2019. For the first time we also had information from 3,748 children aged 5 to 8 who completed a similar survey designed for younger children. Where possible, we relate our findings back to the reading surveys we conducted from 2005.

Our report explored:

  • How many children and young people enjoy reading
  • How often they read in their free time
  • The type of formats they read, in print and on screens
  • How good a reader they think they are
  • What they think about reading
  • Which groups of young people are more likely to engage in reading
  • How reading differs by geographical region

Our key findings include:

  • Children and young people’s levels of reading enjoyment continue to decline and are at their lowest since 2013 (53% said they enjoyed reading in 2019 vs 53.3% in 2013)
  • Children and young people’s daily reading levels are the lowest we’ve ever recorded, with just 25.8% of children saying they read daily in their free time in 2019
  • Based on reading skills data for 712 pupils aged 11 to 14, young people who enjoy reading are three times more likely to read above the level expected for their age than children who don’t enjoy reading (30.1% vs 8.1%)
  • Based on reading skills data for 712 pupils aged 11 to 14, young people who read daily in their free time are twice as likely to read above the level expected for their age than children who don’t read daily (37.6% vs 14.2%)

Find out more about our previous Annual Literacy Survey reports on children and young people's reading below.