Research

Children and Young People’s reading in 2016: Findings from our Annual Literacy Survey 2016

Added 03 Jul 2017

We have conducted the national annual literacy survey since 2010 and have surveyed young people on literacy issues since 2005. This report outlines findings about children and young people’s reading from our seventh annual literacy survey conducted in November/December 2016 and where possible relates those findings back to our other reading surveys dating back to 2005. 42,406 children and young people aged eight to 18 participated in our online survey in 2016. The report shows that:

  • Levels of reading enjoyment increased again. In 2016, 58.6% of children and young people enjoyed reading either very much or quite a lot, 32.7% only enjoyed reading a bit and 8.7% did not enjoy reading at all. Overall, the percentage of children and young people who enjoyed reading is up from 54.8% in 2015.
  • Levels of daily reading decreased significantly. While daily reading levels had increased between 2013 and 2015, they dropped again in 2016 to levels last seen in 2012, decreasing from 43.0% in 2015 to 32.0% in 2016.
  • Text messages, websites and song lyrics were most frequently read outside class at least once a month by children and young people in 2016. With the exception of song lyrics and non-fiction, reading across all formats decreased between 2015 and 2016.
  • On average, children and young people read 4.6 books in a typical month.
  • In 2016, children and young people spent, on average, 2.5 times as many minutes reading something online (88.28 minutes) as they spent reading a book (32.99 minutes).
  • Nearly 6 in 10 children and young people (58.9%) in 2016 said that they have a favourite book or story. This percentage is slightly lower to the one we reported in 2015. Diary of a Wimpy Kid continues to be the children’s and young people’s favourite in 2016, followed by Harry Potter, Tom Gates and Girl Online.
  • Children and young people in 2016 were mostly motivated to read by achievement, followed by interest and an extrinsic concern of reading for approval.