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More than quarter of a million school children in ‘literary poverty’

5th February 2020
Posted by Aston Avery

New research reveals that more than a quarter of a million UK primary school children are experiencing literary poverty – which is defined by BookTrust, the UK’s largest children’s reading charity, as a child who is read to or with for pleasure, for less than 15 minutes a week outside of school. The study shows that 345,000 (14%) school children aged seven to nine are currently falling into this category, with a further 17% on the border, being read to or with for less than half an hour a week.

Worryingly, six per cent of children aged 7-9 fall into the worse category of literary poverty, with their parents or guardians never reading to or with them at all.  Just a third (37%) of young children in the UK are reading with or being read to by a parent or carer for over an hour a week in total. BookTrust encourages families to read together for just 10 minutes a day as this helps develop their language, curiosity, imagination and listening skills, as well as benefitting their academic development, including writing skills.

Aston spoke to Anne Fine, former children’s laureate and author to discuss the research in further detail and also about the BookTrust pyjamarama day event.