World Book Day: One third of under 18s never read, but numbers are still up, says new report from Kids Insight

The research – released to mark World Book Day today – compiled the views of more than 20,000 UK-based four to 18 year olds and found that the numbers of children reading was actually up by three per cent on 2017.
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New research from the children’s intelligence specialist, Kids Insights has revealed that almost a third of those under 18, never read.

The same report suggests that eight out of ten children aged under 18 spend little or nothing on books.

However, despite this, the research – released to mark World Book Day today – compiled the views of more than 20,000 UK-based four to 18 year olds and found that the numbers of children reading was actually up by three per cent on 2017.

Across all age groups, books about Harry Potter continue to prove the most popular, topping the most read books during the last year, followed by Horrid Henry and the Gruffalo for four to 12 year olds, and Game of Thrones for 13 to 18 year olds.

Paperback and hardback books are still the most popular format for reading among children, with slight increases over the last 12 months and despite the on-going tech revolution, the number of children reading online articles has dropped by six per cent over the year for four to 15 year olds. EBooks, newspapers and audiobooks have all seen a drop in readership by between one to two per cent.

EBooks were, however, found to be a more popular platform among girls (14 per cent) than boys (eight per cent) and are most popular with children aged 13 to 18.

Jonathan Watson, product manager at Kids Insights, said: “Reading is such an important part of children’s lives, and World Book Day is the perfect day to pick up a book and get stuck into new worlds and stories.

“Although our data shows that plenty of young people are doing just that, there’s still a significant number who aren’t getting the huge range of benefits that reading brings with it.

“Some of the most popular books in our study, like Harry Potter, Horrid Henry or the Gruffalo take readers on adventures that are unrivalled by TV or film and whetehr it’s through an old fashioned paperback or hardback or an eBook or a tablet, we hope more children take the chance to get reading in 2018.”

The biggest influencers when it comes to reading choices are parents for the four to 12 year olds (40 per cent) and friends (34 per cent), the internet (33 per cent) and social media (31 per cent) for 13 to 18 year olds.

Watson added: “Even though there are young people not experiencing the joys of reading, it’s encouraging to see the popularity of paperbacks and hardbacks increasing.

“It will be interesting to see how book publishers can utilise new technologies such as augmented reality to continue to engage this increasingly demanding audience who in many ways don’t just want to read the story but also want to co-create the story.”

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