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Gift of reading: children's book ownership in 2019

Added 29 Nov 2019 | Updated 30 Nov 23

Through our ninth Annual Literacy Survey, we explored the relationship between children's book ownership, reading skills, reading enjoyment and reading attitudes.

We surveyed 56,906 children and young people aged 9 to 18 across the UK between January to March 2019.

Key findings

Compared to children who don't have a book of their own, children who own books are:

  • Six times more likely to read above the level expected for their age (22% vs 3.6%)
  • Nearly three times more likely to enjoy reading (56.2% vs 18.4%)
  • More than twice as likely to agree that reading is cool (42.5% vs 16.6%)

Further findings include:

  • 383,755 children and young people in the UK don't have a book of their own
  • Disadvantaged children are more likely than their peers to not own a book (9.3% vs 6%)
  • However the gap in book ownership between disadvantaged children and their more advantaged peers has almost halved in the past six years (from 6.1 percentage points in 2013 to 3.3 percentage points in 2019)
  • During this time, the National Literacy Trust has gifted more than 340,000 books to children and young people who need them most through our partnerships, programmes, community activity and competitions

This one page report summarises the key research findings.

The report has been published to mark the launch of our gift of reading Christmas campaign.

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