The National Literacy Trust is a charity whose aim is to encourage reading and writing in adults and children alike. However, a recent study by the National Literacy Trust has found that, as youngsters age, their interest in and their enjoyment from reading both decrease.
A total of 41,334 children aged between 8 and 16 took part in the study which examined their reading habits. What was found was quite disheartening – most children, and boys in particular, go off reading in their teenage years. Almost three quarters of 8 to 11-year-old boys (72%) said that they liked to read but only just over a third of 14 to 16-year-old boys felt the same. There was a similar pattern amongst girls, though much less severe. The vast majority of 8 to 11-year-old girls (82%) enjoy reading but this number falls to 53% amongst 14 to 16-year-olds.
So, why do teenagers’ attitudes towards reading change? Of course, our tastes and interests become different as we grow up but reading was never a childish thing to be cast aside, like playing with dolls or Lego. Why do children give up one of their pleasures?
According to Jonathan Douglas, the Director of the National Literacy Trust, the main reasons are the pressures of study, which are much worse at secondary school than at primary, and prioritising what little leisure time is available. Teenagers, as we know, place a lot of importance on their social lives. Between school, homework, revision, extra-curricula activities and social lives, that doesn’t leave much time for anything else. What little does remain tends to be spent on video games rather than books.
Reading is a great way to boost our learning. Studies show that children who read at home are much better at reading and writing at school than those who don’t. It’s all practise you see – even something very low-brow helps. So, how can we encourage our children to read? Mr Douglas has some advice:
‘For starters,’ he says, ‘you can motivate boys to read by tapping into their interests, such as football, comedy and gaming, and letting them choose what they want to read.
‘Remember that everything counts, whether they want to read a fictional story, newspaper, magazine or comic.’
But the report is not all bad news. Children, overall, are enjoying reading more than they did in previous years. More than half of children (57%) said they enjoyed reading either very much or quite a lot. That’s more than in any other year since the annual study began.
Here at EQ we like to keep parents informed about educating their child. That’s where our Knowledge Bank comes in. Do you have any questions about education? Perhaps you want to know what AS and A-levels entail or the cost of going to university. If so, you’ll find the answers there. We also have an abundance of advice which parents may find useful. It’s a valuable tool in any parent’s arsenal!
If you’d like to kindle a passion for books in your child then one place you could start is our suite of Books quizzes. There are more than 80 quizzes in all, on subjects as diverse as authors, fictional characters, genres and poetry. What’s more, they’re all free to play so take a look – you never know where it may lead you!