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Children 'too embarrassed' to pick up books
Data published by the National Literacy Trust shows that just three-in-10 children now read every day in their own time compared with four-in-10 seven years ago and growing numbers of children are shunning books in favour of television.
Figures show a gradual year-on-year drop in the number of eight- to 16-year-olds choosing to pick up novels outside school. Many children are also turning their backs on other forms of reading, including magazines and websites, it was revealed. The popularity of comics has almost halved since 2005, figures show.
Researchers warned that young people were increasingly shunning texts in favour of other activities such as television and games consoles.
According to the latest study, one-in-six children admitted they were too embarrassed to read in front of their friends for fear of being labelled a geek.
Researchers said it was "essential" for children to make time to read as there was a clear link between reading outside lessons and academic achievement. Young people who read at home on a daily basis are 13 times more likely to perform above the level expected for their age in literacy, it was claimed.
The research was based on a long-running survey of 21,000 children in primary and secondary education. It emerged that 38.1% of pupils read in their spare time when the study was first carried out in 2005, this dropped to 30.8% in the latest poll completed in 2011. The research found that 54% of those questioned preferred watching TV to reading.