Children reading more during lockdown, report shows

A report by the National Literacy Trust and Puffin shows that children are reading more (35% rise) and enjoying reading more (28% rise) during lockdown than before, due to having more time to read and greater access to digital stories.

The findings also revealed that there has been a significant uplift in children reading fiction both in print (41%) and on screen (27%), with children mostly choosing to escape lockdown through tales of adventure (65%), comedy (48%) and fantasy (40%). Puffin also saw a rise in popularity of these genres with bestselling titles during lockdown including Jeff Kinney’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl, One of us is Lying by Karen McManus and Malorie Blackman’s Noughts and Crosses series.
Reading has supported children’s wellbeing in these uncertain times

Reading has also provided vital support for children during this challenging time. More than half (59%) of children said that reading made them feel better and a third (32%) said it helped them when they felt sad because they could not see their family and friends. Half (50%) of children also said reading inspired them to dream about the future.

Although more children have been enjoying reading during lockdown, the report also shows that the reading enjoyment gap between boys and girls increased five-fold during lockdown, while the reading frequency gap almost doubled.

However, the report did reveal that audiobooks could play a vital role in bridging this gap and providing a route into reading for boys, with more boys than girls (25% vs 22%) listening to audiobooks more often in lockdown and half of boys (51%) saying that listening to audiobooks has increased their interest in reading.

To help all children sustain a love of reading beyond lockdown and into the summer, The National Literacy Trust and Puffin have created a free guide for parents filled with top tips in children’s own words. These include giving children time and space to read, letting children choose the stories they are most interested in and helping children explore stories in lots of different formats, including ebooks, audiobooks and videos.

The report is based on our surveys of children aged 8 to 18 in the UK conducted before and during lockdown.

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