18% of children in England do not have access to books at home in 2022, report shows

Research by the National Literacy Trust shows that in England, 18.6% of five to eight-year-old children don’t have a book of their own at home. The study also shows that the percentage of girls (84.1%) who have a book at home is higher than the percentage of boys (79.1%).

In a previous study published by National Literacy Trust in 2019, it was found that just 26% of children under 18 spent some time each day reading. It was also found that fewer children enjoy reading, and that this dwindled with age: nearly twice as many five to eight-year-olds as 14 to 16-year-olds said they took pleasure from reading. Overall, just 53% of children said they enjoyed reading “very much” or “quite a lot” – the lowest level since 2013.

These 2 studies show that children are not reading like the previous generation, and family finances may be the reason for this situation. Books are very expensive and that’s why 18% of children in England don’t have a book at home. Parents cannot afford to buy books to their children. But another study shows that having books at home and growing up in a house full of books is very important for children. Also, less than half (47%) of boys were keen readers, compared with 60% of girls.

It was discovered that growing up in a house full of books is major boost to literacy and numeracy by a study in 2019. According to the paper, teenagers with only lower levels of secondary education, but who came from a home filled with books, “become as literate, numerate and technologically apt in adulthood as university graduates who grew up with only a few books”. The university graduates who grew up with hardly any books around them had roughly average literacy levels, said the researchers. So did those whose schooling ended in the equivalent of year nine (13-14 years old), but who grew up surrounded by books.

A lot of children in England are growing up without books. The effects of reading on child development are later literacy skills, facilitating social interaction between adults and children, and encouraging children to engage with the world around them. Reading can be a ‘stable source of information’ throughout a child’s life. This stability allows them to access text in a constant fashion and can be especially beneficial for children growing up in challenging circumstances. That’s why parents should get books to their children.