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4 million British children 'do not own a book'

5th December 2011

Four million children in the UK do not own a single book, according to a new survey by the National Literary Trust (NLT), with this number rising every year.

The survey of 18,000 children found that those from a poorer background are less likely to have a single book on their shelf than children from wealthier families, with boys also less likely to own a book than girls.

A similar poll seven years ago revealed that only one in ten youngsters did not possess a single book, but this proportion now stands at three in ten, even though children who own books are more likely to perform better at school.

Research by the NLT shows that three-quarters of youngsters who read nine or more books a month have a higher reading standard than the national average for their age group, so it is of particular concern that some children do not own or read any, said NLT director Jonathan Douglas.

'We know there is a direct correlation between book ownership and children's reading abilities. With one in six in the UK struggling with literacy it is very worrying that many children could be missing out on opportunities to develop these essential skills,' he added.

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