People reading in library.

Reading enjoyment at lowest level since 2005

Young people’s reading for enjoyment is at its lowest level since 2005, according to the National Literacy Trust’s (NLT) latest annual survey.

Recorded every year, the survey’s alarming figures highlight an important issue.

Jim Sells, Senior Programme Manager for the NLT, points towards lack of access and choice as reasons behind this statistic.

He said: “We’ve got a lot of issues around book ownership.

“Because of the cost of living crisis there is a low priority and lack of access for family’s children to have books of their own.”

Adam Speight, an assistant head teacher and content writer for Access Education GCSE Pod, concurs with Sells statement, adding that schools should be doing more.

He said: “It’s all well and good saying we want children to read at home; and yes that’s the absolute dream, but times are tough for people.

“It’s about schools creating as much energy in their curriculum as possible but for learners as well to be given a range of texts.

Speight also claimed school libraries around the country were disappearing.

According to figures from BMG published by the Great School Libraries campaign in 2023, 14% of primary did not have dedicated library area.

Sells spoke about the NLT’s plans to fix this issue.

He said: “We had a target of a thousand schools to be fitted out with libraries by 2025, and we’re going to do that by summer 2024.”

In addition to this, by working closely with corporations and publishers, the NLT distribute books freely among libraries, extra curricular clubs and food banks.

Similarly, Mark McNulty, publisher of the Peckham Peculiar, is arranging a free to attend book festival in south east London set to take place in November, with hopes of all the profits going to food banks.

He said: “Financial barriers are a problem for lots of people.

“We really think it’s important that the community has easy access to books and book related events.”

Furthermore for world book day, the NLT hosted a Footy & Booky quiz with special guest Leah Williamson, captain of England’s Lionesses.

Speight also stressed the importance of these events for young people.

He said: “The trouble always is making people at school aware what events are on and trying to find budgets.

“They need to be available and children should be encouraged to go to them for free.”

Featured image credit: Pexels

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