Children's Reading Choices

Children's Reading Choices

Children's Reading Choices 2022

This new short report from Teresa Cremin and Becky Coles of The Open University looks at data from 1194 children aged 8-11 years who took part in the Attitude to Reading survey provided by Bounce Together and written by the School Library Association. The responses came from 14 state schools across England in 2021 and were spread across the country. 

The findings re-enforce much of what is ‘known’ about creating a vibrant and impactful reading culture within a school; but some findings provide a challenge. 

Amongst the most notable findings is that 12% of respondents indicated they didn’t like any books or stories. Although this number may seem low, these are schools which are already engaged with reading to some extent, and an additional 2% didn’t answer the question. 

The responses to the question ‘When you’ve finished reading something, how do you choose what to read next?’ also provide a challenge for schools. Over half (56%) said their preferred way to choose the next book was simply to look at the shelves, and only 14% said they’d ask an adult. This highlights the importance of reading environments being easily navigable and browsing strategies being explicitly taught. Cremin and Coles write: “Perhaps the young people do not see adults as readers, do not often experience adults reading and have limited access to reading role models. Or perhaps they perceive that the adult - a teacher, parent or librarian will prescribe a text, not offer a choice, and follow this up with some form of checking or assessment?”

Teresa Cremin, Professor of Education at The Open University, says “In order to motivate young readers, knowing them as readers and enabling them to choose is essential. Teachers must also be able to make informed recommendations to broaden children’s reading repertoires, and this means widening professional knowledge of children’s texts too.”

Bob Wilkinson, Bounce Together MD said: “We are delighted to be working with the School Library Association and The Open University to shed more light on what children are, and want to, read. Reading for pleasure positively affects mental health, self-esteem, empathy, mood and stress. It is also no secret that in difficult times these characters can provide a sense of comfort and help children and adults feel less alone, and we’re pleased to be supporting schools in this important work.” 

Alison Tarrant, CEO of the School Library Association, said: “Working to understand each individual child’s attitude to reading is vital as part of the work of making reading something children want to do intrinsically. Ultimately, it’s about their passions, interests, abilities and dislikes and only through understanding these better are school staff better able to inform and inspire a love of reading. We’re so pleased that this survey is being used by schools and the report highlights many areas of work for schools across the UK, and we will continue to work to support school staff in this important area.”

Discover how else we can support your school

From online training to webinars, we can support your school when it comes to reading for pleasure. Below is a list of some of the resources and ways we can help:

  • Online training course - Reading for Pleasure covers how to implement a reading for pleasure policy in your school. 
  • Free resources - go to the relevant support page for lesson plans and guides (there's even more for members!)
  • Reading Recommendations - get personalised reading recommendations for a class or individual. Tell us a little about them and we'll send you some books they may like. 
  • Advice line - members have an advice line they can call or email for support with any queries to do with reading for pleasure, school libraries or research skills. 
  • Webinars and webcasts - these take place each week, and there's one free a month for members. On a range of topics and lasting an hour, they're an accessible way to boost your CPD
  • Newsletter - sign up to our monthly newsletter to find out more about activities, events, competitions and more happening to support literacy and reading. Members can opt in to a Primary focused additional newsletter. 

How much is SLA membership?

SLA membership is only £95 a year, and this covers the whole school (when paid for by the school). To find out more about our offer have a look here. 

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