Black and Asian children enjoy reading more than white children, a study by the National Literacy Trust has found.

Twenty-five per cent of white children involved in the survey of 42,406 pupils aged eight to 18 said that they “very much” enjoy reading, compared to 27.8 per cent of black respondents and 28.2 per cent of Asian children.

At the other end of the enjoyment spectrum, a higher number of white children reported that they liked reading “not at all”, with 9 per cent giving that answer compared to 6.7 per cent of black children and 5.3 per cent of Asian children.

The annual survey also shows that the number of primary school children saying they enjoy reading has reached record levels.

Close to 78 per cent of children aged eight to 11 like having their nose in a book while 55.2 per cent of pupils aged 11-14 also enjoy reading.

We must continue to do everything we can to inspire children to fall in love with reading for a lifetime.Jonathan Douglas, National Literacy Trust

However the study also shows a continuing gender gap, with boys less likely to enjoy reading than girls. Enjoyment of reading also drops off sharply as boys get older, with twice as many boys aged eight to 11 reporting that they enjoy reading compared with boys aged 14 to 16.

There is a similar fall among girls, but it is less dramatic, with 82.8 per cent of those aged eight to 11 taking pleasure in picking up a book compared with 53.3 per cent of those in their late teens.

The survey also found that the gap between the reading age of pupils who enjoy books compared with classmates who dislike reading increases over time, with 10-year-olds having a reading age 1.3 years ahead of their peers, up to 3.3 years at the age of 14.

Jonathan Douglas from the trust said: “When children enjoy reading and have books of their own, they do better at school and later in life, so we must continue to do everything we can to inspire children to fall in love with reading for a lifetime.”

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