« Back

The World Book Day charity has brought together the UK’s leading reading and educational charities – BookTrust, CLPE, National Literacy Trust, and The Reading Agency – and the leading children’s publisher Egmont, as well as Nielsen Books, in a collaboration providing insights into the impact of the last year on reading for pleasure, and children’s life chances.

Together we found that many children and parents embraced reading at the beginning of the pandemic, with huge benefits for their wellbeing and development (even though one year into the pandemic reading has decreased slightly). Follow our social media to see families sharing their reading experiences. We hope that sharing them with you will help more families to discover reading for pleasure. 

The research found: 

  • Many children embraced reading at the beginning of the pandemic. The majority looked online for reading inspiration, with YouTube (45%), social media (28%) and friends (31%) cited as a key source of ideas. 
  • Books have provided a valuable resource to support children’s wellbeing. Young people reported that it helped them relax (40%) and made them feel happy (35%)
  • 82% of teachers have found ways of reading aloud to their classes during the pandemic because it provided an emotional support as well as developing literacy skills.
  • Parents read more with children and encouraged children to read more too. Whilst engaging children with their online lessons often became a battleground for families, parents who read aloud to their children every day noticed an improvement in wellbeing, behaviour, family bonds and attainment with schoolwork (even when home educating).

But while the pandemic has seen such positives, it has also highlighted major concerns: 

  • Access to books remains a serious issue, particularly amongst disadvantaged children and families. Despite many schools implementing quarantine schemes and delivery services, 40% of primary-level children were unable to take books home.
  • One year into the pandemic reading has decreased slightly this year, according to the latest research from Nielsen Books

All of the charities involved in this research, including World Book Day, promote the importance of book ownership and reading for pleasure; the single biggest indicator of a child’s future success (more than family circumstance or their parents’ educational background or income).

The latest research for the National Literacy Trust shows the positive impact World Book Day has had during the pandemic. When asked in early 2021 what they had done differently as a result of World Book Day 2020, 3 in 5 primary children said that they had read more books as a result. Over half had talked more about books with family and friends. A third had also read more books with family and friends.

  • Last year, 1.03 million World Book Day £1 books were gifted in the UK & Ireland in only five weeks.
  • 3 in 10 of children receiving free school meals said the book they ‘bought ’ with their World Book Day token was the first book they had of their own – clear indication of World Book Day’s ability to reach disadvantaged children.

World Book Day aims to change lives through a love of books and shared reading. Our mission to ensure that all children can experience the life-changing power of books and reading has never been more critical. Find out more about our impact here, and find out how you can support us here

Read our full press release here