A study suggests teenagers in Wales rarely or never read a book.
Four in ten Welsh 15-year-olds have told Pisa (Programme for International Student Assessment) that they ‘rarely or never’ read books.
Set by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the Pisa tests were carried out across 79 countries. As part of the tests, teenagers in Wales sat tests in reading, maths and science and were asked additional questions about things such as their reading habits and wellbeing.
A total of 44% of the 3,165 pupils from across Wales said they rarely or never read, compared to 35% across the OECD countries which took part.
Pupils in Wales generally had more negative attitudes towards reading than their peers in other countries with 49% with a significant number saying they read ‘only when they have to’.
The number who say they do not read for enjoyment seems to be rising each year.
Despite saying they don’t read for pleasure, pupils were more confident of their reading abilities than their OECD peers.
83% agreed or strongly agreed with the statement: “I am a good reader”, compared to 71% among the OECD cohort.
Wales education minister Kirsty Williams noted the fact that Welsh children report being online more than the OECD average but doesn’t dismiss online reading, as at least “that’s something.”
“We know that after the quality of teaching in classrooms, the second biggest influence in a child’s educational outcomes is parents,” Williams told BBC Radio Wales Breakfast. “Clearly, the availability of books and developing a love of reading from a very early age is really important if we are to see an improvement in our reading scores.”
The head of reading charity Book Trust Cymru supported the view that reading together as a family, along with children seeing parents reading themselves, can have a positive affect on literacy.
“We understand it’s harder as children grow up, especially for reluctant readers, and there are so many time pressures and distractions for teens, so tempting them with a physical book can be tricky but it’s not impossible.
“Children simply may not be reading because they are not engaged with the text, but we can confidently say that all it takes is one book to get them hooked and they will continue to read. So, if they love films, try the book that inspired the film.”