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The children who don't own a single book

6th Dec 17

One in eight of the nation's most disadvantaged children say they don't have a book of their own at home, according to new research published today by the National Literacy Trust as it launches its Christmas Stories campaign

However, the charity's research also pointed to a huge increase in the number of children who have books to read at home, compared to an earlier survey in 2010. Some 90% Of the 39,097 children and young people who responded to this question said that they have a book of their own at home. This is a massive increase since 2010, when the research indicated that 67% had a book of their own at home.

Yet around three-quarters of a million (770,129) UK school children still don't own a book. Of these children, those who receive free school meals, boys of all ages and teenagers are the most likely to say they have no books of their own at home.

The research report, Book ownership and reading outcomes, found that children who say they don't own a single book have much poorer educational outcomes than their book owning peers.

Those who own a book are 15 times more likely to read above the level expected for their age than children who don't (28.8% vs 1.9%) and are much less likely to read below the expected level (12.9% vs 48.1%).

The report states, 'Children who don't have a book of their own are more likely to say thatthey only read when they have to and when others make them read, and less likely to believe in their own reading capabilities.'

The report marks the launch of the charity's Christmas Stories campaign, which aims to give some of the UK's most disadvantaged children their very first book this Christmas.

Best-selling author and illustrator Cressida Cowell, who is leading the Christmas Stories campaign, said: "Opening a new book for the very first time still fills me with the same excitement and anticipation that it did as a child. Not only do books enable children to discover new worlds, meet new people and learn about the past, but they also have the power to transform lives.

"By sparking imaginations, stimulating critical thinking, and helping develop empathy, reading gives children the very literacy skills they need to succeed at school, at work and in life.

"Yet far too many children from some of the poorest families in the UK are missing out on the chance to reach their potential for one simple reason - they don't have a single book of their own at home. Just one book can make a huge difference."

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