Research

Writer visits and children and young people's literacy engagement

Added 26 Jun 2019

This report uses data from our 2019 Annual Literacy Survey and the Great School Library Campaign to determine how many schools in the UK have had a writer visit in the last year, their reasons for organising the visit and the relationship the visit had with children and young people’s engagement with reading and writing.

Data from the National School Library Survey of 1,750 primary and secondary schools in England, Wales and Northern Ireland found that:

  • 3 in 5 schools (61%) said that they have had a visit from a writer or poet in the past year
  • The most commonly cited reason was to support reading for pleasure (79%), followed by to encourage creating writing (67%) and to support the English curriculum (47%)

Using data from our ninth Annual Literacy Survey of 56,905 children and young people aged 9 to 18 across the UK, conducted between January and March 2019, we explored how many children and young people say that they have had a writer visit and what the relationships are between a writer visit and children and young people’s reading and writing enjoyment, behaviours and attitudes.

We found that:

  • 1 in 4 (26.9%) children and young people said in 2019 that they had had a writer visit at school
  • Fewer children and young people who receive free school meals (FSM) said that they had a writer visit compared with their peers who don’t receive FSM (23.7% vs. 27.6%)
  • Around twice as many children and young people attending independent schools (54.7%) reported having had a writer visit than children and young people attending other schools
  • Twice as many children and young people who had an writer visit to their school read above the expected level for their age compared with their peers who didn’t have such a visit (30.8% vs 16.5%)
  • Children who had an author visit to their school reported higher levels of reading enjoyment (68.2% vs 47.2%) and writing enjoyment (43.9% vs 32.4%) than their peers who didn’t receive a visit
  • Children who had an author visit to their school were also more likely to have high levels of confidence in their reading (36.8% vs 25.1%) and writing (21.9% vs 16.9%) capabilities than their peers who didn’t receive a visit