A study has found that approximately one-third of British children do not have their own books at home.
The National Literacy Trust (NLT) surveyed 18,141 children from 111 schools in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales and found that approximately one in three children -- or 33.2 percent -- did not have their own books at home. This was a dramatic change from the last NLT survey in 2005, which estimated that one in 10 British children did not own books at home.
Our research found that book ownership is directly linked with children's reading ability so this is something that must be addressed, NLT head of development Conal Presho wrote IBTimes in an email. People with good literacy skills are more likely to have higher self-esteem, better health, better jobs and higher wages than those with poor literacy skills.
The survey found that girls were more likely than boys to have books at home. Children who were provided with free lunches at school were less likely to have books at home. Another finding of the study was that children with negative attitudes towards reading were more likely to be below their reading level.
Overall, young people who do not enjoy reading at all were 11 times more likely than those who enjoy reading very much to read below the level expected for their age, researchers wrote in the study.
Literacy experts agree that parents can play a huge role in their children's literacy.
They can best support their child by encouraging them to enjoy reading and taking an interest in what their child is reading, Presho wrote in an email.
NLT officials noted another crucial aspect to child literacy: let children read what they want.
[Parents] can help their child to find things to read that interest them - be they football magazines, music websites or more traditional children's books, Presho wrote in an email. It is also useful to create quiet spaces or set times of the day to share a story together.