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Children’s reading in Birmingham in 2018: A baseline

Added 28 Jun 2018

Birmingham Education Partnership (BEP) commissioned the National Literacy Trust to undertake this survey as part of a data-gathering exercise at the start of a Strategic School Improvement Fund (SSIF) project to improve reading in primary schools in the city. We hope to repeat this exercise towards the close of the SSIF project as part of the evaluation process.

Based on data from 4,230 children aged 8 to 11 from 41 primary schools in Birmingham who participated in a city-wide reading survey in April/May 2018, key findings include:

  • 73.1% of children in Birmingham say that they enjoy reading either very much or quite a lot
  • 36.6% say that they read in their free time on a daily basis
  • On average, children rate their own reading skill towards a very good range of a scale (7.88 out of a 1 to 10 rating scale, where 1 = not very good and 10 – very good).
  • Most children say that they usually read between 6 and 20 minutes when they read in their free time. Nearly 1 in 5 say that they tend to read for half an hour or longer.
  • Children tend to think positively about reading, with 90.3% believing that reading will help them learn more, while over 3 in 4 persevere with reading even when they find it difficult. 3 in 4 also believe in their own comprehension skill, saying that they usually understand what they are reading quite easily, while 7 in 10 think they can make sense of what they are reading quite quickly. 7 in 10 children also think that reading is cool.
  • Most children tend to enjoy learning new words (74.3%).
  • On average, children read 6 different types of materials in their free time at least once a month, predominantly fiction and non-fiction, followed by song lyrics and poems.
  • Half of children (55%) say that they read with someone at home; mostly on a daily basis or 2 to 3 times a week.
  • Nearly 2 in 3 (65.1%) say that they use their school library.


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