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Children, young people and digital reading

Added 30 Apr 2019 | Updated 07 May 19

Based on data from our Annual Literacy Survey of 56,905 children and young people aged 9 to 18, conducted between January and March 2019, this report explores how children and young people today use technology to read and how this is linked to their reading enjoyment, reading behaviours and reading attitudes. In addition, we used data from our 2017/18 Annual Literacy Survey to see how digital reading for this age range is related to reading skill. Findings include:

  • While print remains the dominant reading format for most children and young people aged 9 to 18 who took part in our survey in 2019, there was a small rise in the number of children and young people aged 9 to 18 who read fiction, non-fiction and comics digitally in 2019 compared with 2017/18
  • Young people who are the most engaged with reading are more likely to read both on paper and on screen than their peers who have low engagement with reading
  • Those with low reading engagement are more likely than those with high reading engagement to consume reading materials on screen – potentially providing opportunities to better engage them with reading in the future. For example, 1 in 4 disengaged boy readers said that they read fiction on screen compared to just 1 in 10 of their more engaged peers (25.4% vs 9.8%)
  • 24.3% of pupils on free school meals read fiction digitally compared to 16.3% of their peers who were not eligible for free school meals

The report was commissioned by The Publishers Association to assess the impact of digital reading on children’s literacy levels; particularly how technology impacts reading attainment and enjoyment in young people and children.

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