The Reads and the Read-Nots - Implications for Dundee?

Yesterday the National Literacy Trust published a study about the reading habits of children and young people in the UK. 
Their research of 18,141 children revealed a polarised nation of young readers with 1 in 6 reporting that they don’t read 
a single book in a month, while 1 in 10 say they read more than 10 books in a month.

This divide between the “reads” and the “read-nots” is concerning because the research shows reading frequency has a 
direct link to attainment, as 8 in 10 children who read over 10 books a month are above average readers compared with just 3 in 10 of those who rarely read.
Fresh approaches are urgently needed to encourage young people to read more. However, the number of children who never 
read a book suggest our schools and libraries have a challenge on their hands.

The research also found that:

  • 77% of children who read for longer than an hour at a time are above average readers, while just 4% who read for over an hour are below the level expected of them.
  • Only 30% of children who read for up to 10 minutes at a time are above average readers, with 20% below the reading expected level for their age.
  • Text messages are the most popular thing for children to read outside of class with 60% saying they read texts outside of class.
  • Children who read text messages but not fiction books are twice as likely to be below average readers compared to those who also read fiction (10% versus 5%). 
National Literacy Trust Director, Jonathan Douglas, said:
"Our new research shows that 1 in 6 children don't read a book in a month, and we are worried that they will grow up to be the 1 in 6 adults who struggle with literacy to the extent that they read to the level expected of an eleven-year-old, or below."

I have written to Michael Wood, Director of Education, to ask him to put this report on the agenda of the next meeting of the Council's Education Review Group. I think there are some important issues for us to examine in relation to promoting reading amongst children and young people in our city.