Child Readers

There was an article in the June 2 issue of The Daily Telegraph regarding a study by the National Literacy Trust which found that black and Asian children enjoy reading more than white children.

According to the NLT, 25% of white children involved in the survey of 42,406 pupils aged eight to eighteen said that they enjoyed reading ‘very much’.  This is compared to 27.8% of black respondents and 28.2% of Asian children.

At the other end of the scale 9% of white children said that they liked books ‘not at all’, compared with 6.7% of black children and 5.3% of Asian children.

The annual survey also showed that the number of primary school children who enjoy reading a book has reached record levels.  Nearly 78% of youngsters aged eight to eleven said they enjoy reading while 55.4% of pupils aged eleven to fourteen also enjoy doing so.

However, the study shows a continuing gender gap with boys less likely to enjoy reading than girls.

Jonathan Douglas, of the Literacy Trust, said: “When children enjoy reading and have books of their own, they do better at school and later in life, so we must do everything we can to inspire children to fall in love with reading for a lifetime.”

I certainly agree with Mr Douglas: motivating children to read is very important to the development of a child, but also becomes a lifelong pleasure that can be passed on to their children.

For me the statistics of black and Asian vs. white children are not sufficiently significantly different to be a cause of concern.  What is worrying for me is the apparent decline in reading for enjoyment among older children.  I can accept that older children have busier lives and perhaps less time to read for enjoyment, but I would hope that their enjoyment of reading does not lessen.

The article in the Telegraph did not publish statistics on the ‘gender gap’, but I’m not surprised that there is one.  Unfortunately, for many boys, reading is not enough of an ‘action activity’.

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