Tuesday, 7 June 2011



The Telegraph and The Evening Standard (London) had very interesting articles about book ownership this week.

According to new research conducted on young people aged, mostly, between 11 and 13 years, it was found that four in 10 boys in the UK, do not own a single book of their own. The statistics are not much better for girls: three in 10 girls do not own a book.

Researchers have found that children who do not own books were more than twice-as-likely to be reading below the expected level than those who had their own books.

The young people who have books of their own are more likely to be girls, socio-economically better off, from white or mixed ethnic backgrounds and without a special educational need:
·         parents are more likely to buy books as presents if their child is a girl
·         mums are more likely to be seen reading than dads.
Boys’ literacy levels lag behind girls; this trend emerges in the early years of their education.
It isn’t as if the problem is only related to conventional, paper books, The National Literacy Trust's researchers Christina Clark and Lizzie Poulton found that, "Children with no books of their own are less likely to be sending emails, reading websites or engaging with their peers through the written word on social networking sites."
A recent study by the University of Nevada, showed that the overriding predictor of a child's educational success is the number of books at home.
As few as 20 books made a huge difference.
Evidence showed that a child brought up in a household with more than 500 books is likely to spend on average three years longer in education than a child from a bookless home, after controlling for other factors.
"The evidence is there - the survey looked at 70,000 children in 27 countries over 20 years. The key to social mobility is not social class or race, it's not wealth, it's not even parental educational levels: it's books," says Michael Rosen, author.
I used to buy books in the charity shops to supplement the school library. I kept track of the books: amongst the ranks of the disappeared, books by Angie Sage, Anthony Horowitz and JK Rowling were popular but, in a five year period, 12 copies of Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer went missing. 
Congratulations Eoin – you are top of my list of books that children without books want to steal ;)
I'll be back later, I'm going to the CRICKET!!!! 


  1. I owned my first book at age 13. My aunt gave me The BFG by Roald Dahl. I am now 22 and Dahl is still one of my favourite authors. I agree that reading is very important to encourage lifelong learning. What better way to learn than to read?

  2. That's interesting. I don't have any boys but I do tend to buy my daughter books. And she wil definitely see me reading more than my hubby.

  3. Loved reading as a kid. Bought most of my own books, rather than having them given to me.

    Happy Reading to all. And to all a great day.

  4. Hi Theresa
    Wow. I can imagine your joy at being given your first book. My brothers and I shared books and I had a serious addiction to the library ;)

    Hi Jennifer
    I indulged my passion for books on the pretext that they were for my son and daughter ;)

    Hi Ivy
    I bought myself books too. I remember buying them at jumble sales etc when I was very young. I discovered Tarzan at a table top sale ;)

  5. Those are good memories. I still remember buying my first dairy at 12. Was during a book fair at school.

    Good post, Elaine. I enjoyed reading it.

  6. Fascinating! I'm so glad I have even more excuse now for my 1000+ book library!

  7. Very interesting (and sad). I have a son and a daughter and I have a bit of a book buying...habit. Hopefully that means good things for my kids. I will say, though, that my husband is not a reader, so that part is apt in our household. Happily, my son has caught the book bug from me, and I hope that continues.

  8. Hi Faith
    I know! Isn't it great to have the proof that book hoarding is a good idea? :D

    Hi Shannon
    I'm glad your son caught the reading bug from you. My daughter is the one who seems to have been inoculated against reading. I live in hopes ;)