Startling research, issued on Dec. 4, has shown that almost a third of children in the UK do not own a book of their own. The survey was commissioned to mark the launch the Christmas Gift of Reading fundraising appeal.
Research by the National Literacy Trust, who interviewed some 18,000 children, have concluded in a survey report that around 3.8 million children do not own a book of their own. According to the BBC, the survey was undertaken in September with school-aged children (mostly between 11 and 13 years old) from 111 schools across the UK.
Assuming that the research is accurate, the proportion has dramatically increased since the survey was last run 10 years ago. In 2002 the number of children who did not own a book was only one in 10.
In reviewing the findings, as reported by The Daily Express, the National Literacy Trust director Jonathan Douglas said the numbers of children without books were of "particular concern". It is indeed a worrying trend. A report The Guardian in early December revealed that there is a rise in the number of adults in England who "do not have the number skills required to work out their change in a supermarket".
When the results of the survey are analysed further, the data indicates that children eligible for free school meals (a key measure of poverty) are more likely to not own a book compared with children from more affluent families. The survey also reveals a gender divide for boys are more likely to be without books than girls.
Thus the survey reveals some interesting facts about modern society, especially the impact of poverty. What the survey does not reveal is what children are doing instead. No doubt some cannot afford many other options, whereas for others the lure of computer games maybe the greater competitor for the leisure time of children. To counter this, the National Literacy Trust has launched a Christmas Gift of Reading fundraising appeal to encourage children to read.