Those in teaching jobs have been urged to rekindle children's love affair with reading, after new figures showed 22 per cent 'never' or 'rarely read' in their spare time.
The National Literacy Trust's report, Children's Reading Today, reveals that only 30 per cent of children read daily outside class, as the pastime gets overlooked for other activities.
Although children appear not to have lost their affinity for reading (50 per cent said they enjoy reading 'very much' or 'quite a lot'), peer pressure and the lure of other forms of entertainment are reducing the amount of time spent buried in a novel.
Of the 21,000 people surveyed, 17 per cent said that would be embarrassed if their friends saw them reading, while 54 per cent said they prefer watching TV to reading.
It is not just traditional literature that is on the slide. Magazine, comic and even internet reading has declined since 2005.
Commenting on the role that those in education teaching jobs can play, Jonathan Douglas, director of the National Literacy Trust, said: "We need to make reading irresistible.
"We want to call on families and professionals working with children and young people to make ten minutes in their day for reading."
Claire Smith, principal of Bedford Academy, had the following advice on how those with jobs in education can get children enthused about reading: "Some of our children can be reluctant to pick up a book and read in their spare time.
"They need a lot of motivation to encourage them to do so. We use different initiatives to grab their attention."
Another finding from the study of considerable relevance to teachers is the fact that those pupils who read outside class are 13 times more likely to read above the expected level for their age than those who do not.
Posted by Alan Douglas