How does reading benefit children?

Published on: 14 March 2023

A new interactive resource published today by BookTrust sets out the extensive and wide-ranging benefits that reading can bring children, in a simple and accessible way.

A child looking through books in a library

Download the Benefits of Reading resource (PDF)

Drawing on evidence from extensive academic and peer-reviewed research, BookTrust's new resource provides a deeply compelling case for how supporting children to read has the potential to transform children's life chances and give them the best start in life.

Whilst the evidence base to support the benefits of reading is extensive and growing, wider society often focuses on how reading can improve children's literacy and academic performance.

By publishing its new resource, BookTrust aims to showcase the numerous and equally important ways in which reading can positively impact a child's life.

The evidence also highlights how children from disadvantaged backgrounds stand to gain the most from developing a reading habit and underpins why BookTrust's new strategy focuses on providing extra support to these families through its wide range of books, resources and programmes.

In the resource, BookTrust has grouped the benefits of reading into four core themes setting out how children who read are more likely to:

  • Overcome disadvantage caused by inequalities
  • Be healthier and happier children with better mental wellbeing and self-esteem
  • Do better at school and make more progress across the curriculum
  • Develop creativity and empathy

Download the interactive resource here (PDF)

Diana Gerald, Chief Executive of BookTrust said:

'At BookTrust, our mission is to get every child reading regularly and by choice because as this new resource shows, reading is proven to have a positive impact on children's lives and their futures.

'By reviewing and distilling the evidence base into easily understood and digestible messages, we are aiming to publish a definitive summary that clearly sets out how children's lives can be improved in a wide range of different ways, if they are supported, inspired and encouraged to read.

'This rich evidence base is the driving force behind our work with partners, to develop new and improved ways of supporting children on their reading journeys. It also underpins our focus on reaching the most disadvantaged and vulnerable children and families through our work.

'By sharing this new tool, we hope to spread the message to anyone interested in children's development and progress about why investing in and supporting children to read is critical to give children, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds, the best start in life.'

Find out more about BookTrust's strategy

Reading Together

Reading Together, Changing Children's Lives is based on decades of experience of working with millions of families and thousands of local partners, including health visitors, nurseries, schools, libraries and food banks.

Discover our four proposals