Almost 4m children in Britain do not own a book

14 posts / 0
Last post
michael admin's picture
michael admin
Offline
Joined: 09/11/2009
Posts: 4200
Almost 4m children in Britain do not own a book

Quote:
Almost 4 million children in Britain – one in three – do not own a book, a poll has found. The National Literacy Trust charity, which carried out the survey, said the proportion had risen from one in 10 in 2005. The charity said the findings were very worrying because book ownership was linked to children's future success in life.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2011/dec/05/children-literacy-britain-book

rockycat's picture
rockycat
Offline
Joined: 26/11/2009
Posts: 622

My two have plenty of books, but I'm struggling to get my 6 year old DS to enjoy reading for the sake of reading.  He's above his reading age, but reading is still a chore to him rather than something to be enjoyed.  I'm forever getting books out of the library for us to read to/with him to try to encourage him to see reading as something fun to do, but so far I'm not succeeding :(

I wonder if the book scheme for very litle ones has made any difference.  Can't remember what it's called, but mine got given books at their 2 year checks and some other time.

JacquiL's picture
JacquiL
Offline
Joined: 26/11/2009
Posts: 25643

Plenty of books in this house and both M&W have books on their Christmas list

ElectronBlue's picture
ElectronBlue
Offline
Joined: 27/07/2011
Posts: 13460

How sad- Alex has always had shelves and shelves of the things.

Ummbintaini's picture
Ummbintaini
Offline
Joined: 01/12/2009
Posts: 1154

If the statistics have changed since 2005 then wouldn't the main reason be financial?   A book isn't some magic talisman that makes kids more academic, it's a reflection of the parental attitudes, i.e. that they value reading and education, that makes kids do better at school.  In other words, parents who care about their education buy books for their kids.  If many parents who care about kids education are not buying books at the present time for financial reasons, then I don't think it would make a big difference to how well the child does at school.

Also, regards children owning a book, this implies to me that the book belongs to just one child in the family and not others.  If a family is short of cash and instead of buying books for individual kids, they buy some books to be shared by all the kids or that are owned as a family, then technically speaking each individual child doesn't own any books.  Also, if parents are strapped for cash and instead of buying books for their kids they get a library card and borrow books from the library, their kids don't own any books.

As this is a change in only six years, I find it hard to believe that it really represents a change in parents attitudes.  If it was compared to 15-20 yrs ago, then yes that would be more likely a change in attitudes.  But many the parents of children today were also parents of children six years ago, so IMO the change in the number of kids who own books is less likely to be due to a change in attitude towards books and education and more likely something else.  Given the current state of the economy, I'd say it's financial. 

Ummbintaini's picture
Ummbintaini
Offline
Joined: 01/12/2009
Posts: 1154

Also what about bookstart?  Is that still going?  My ED was born in 2006 and she was given a load of free books by bookstart.  If the under 5's are not getting free books any more, that's another possible expalantion for the drop in book ownership among children (specifically very young children) that doesn't come from a change in parental attitudes.

Barefootgirl's picture
Barefootgirl
Offline
Joined: 25/07/2011
Posts: 5961

Ummbintaini wrote:
Also, if parents are strapped for cash and instead of buying books for their kids they get a library card and borrow books from the library, their kids don't own any books.

I think its incredibly unlikely that the sort of people who borrow books from the library don't also own one or two books. It also means that even if parents themselves are too cash-strapped to buy a book or two from the cheapo bookshops, or jumble sales, (and I suppose that this COULD be possible) that they also don't ask family or friends to buy the children books as presents...it gets less and less feasible, doesn't it?

if you care about your children's education, you will get them books, by hook or by crook. If your children don't own ANY books, then I would stick my neck out and say, actually, no matter how you want to dress it up, you don't care about your children's education and are, by extension, a Bad Parent.

OliversArmy's picture
OliversArmy
Offline
Joined: 26/11/2009
Posts: 12102

At George's 9 month check earlier this year he was given a Bookstart bag containing 3 books, so if Bookstart are still operating they're doing a pretty bad job if one in three 5 year olds doesn't own a book. 

I wonder if, rather than it being say one in three out of Olly's classmates (a fairly nice school with mostly middle to upper-lower class parents), it's entire areas/towns where kids don't own books, and because none of their mates have books, and because none of their parent's mates own books or read to their children, it's become the norm? I can't imagine a single one of my friends children not owning books, which possibly proves my point about it being large, separate clusters rather than an evenly-spread thing. 

Daedalus's picture
Daedalus
Offline
Joined: 26/11/2009
Posts: 3736

But, it doesn't say how the survey was carried out. Is there some "kudos" to being a teenager and not having any books - because being stupid and/or poor is cool?

You're not going to count school books, because school owns them, and who would admit to "owning" the children's books they had when they were young? It's alll reading it on wikipedia and watching the film, for that age group, isn't it?

When I think back to my life at that age (and I know I'm often an exception) I wouldn't have admitting to "owning" any books - my parents had books, and I went to the library, and school had books - but the only books I actually owned were ones my parents disapproved of so I would keep quite about them and hide them under the bed.

ElectronBlue's picture
ElectronBlue
Offline
Joined: 27/07/2011
Posts: 13460

:evil:

Ummbintaini's picture
Ummbintaini
Offline
Joined: 01/12/2009
Posts: 1154

Good points BFG, but are there really so many more parents with bad attitudes towards books and education than there were six years ago?  Maybe the statistics in 2005 were skewed by kids being given free books, which is not related to the parents attitude towards education etc.

Also although I think it's great for kids to get free books (I was delighted with them and they've been passed down from ED to YD, albeit torn and covered in crayon lol), you need a lot more than free books to change parents attitudes towards books and education.

As for my kids, YD loves books so much that she refuses to sleep without them and goes to sleep cuddling them.

Pages