– Literacy fears as four million children don’t own a single book (Daily Mail ,Dec. 5, 2011):
Almost four million children in the UK do not own a book, research suggests.
It raises concerns that the number of children growing up without books is rising, with poorer youngsters more likely to miss out.
The latest report by the National Literacy Trust, based on a survey of 18,000 youngsters, reveals a third – 3.8million – do not have books of their own.
And the number has increased from seven years ago, the last time the poll was conducted, when it stood at one in ten.
Today’s report also reveals boys are more likely to be without books than girls, and children eligible for free school meals – a measure of poverty – are more likely to not own a book.
The findings, not unsurprisingly, show children who do own books are more likely to enjoy reading, read more books and read more frequently.
They are also more likely to perform better at school.
Just 7.6 per cent of pupils who have books of their own are reading below the expected level, against 19 per cent of those that do not own books, the report found.
Researchers also concluded that 75% of children who read nine or more books a month read above the level expected of them, compared with 28.6% of those who read no books in a month.
Trust director Jonathan Douglas said the number of children without books was of ‘particular concern’.
‘We know there is a direct correlation between book ownership and children’s reading abilities.
‘With one in six in the UK struggling with literacy it is very worrying that many children could be missing out on opportunities to develop these essential skills.’
The survey was commissioned to mark the launch of the Trust’s Christmas Gift of Reading fundraising appeal.