Pupils enjoy reading less once they reach secondary school, according to latest research from the National Literacy Trust.

In a survey of more than 32,500 children, just 40 per cent of those aged 14 to 16 said they enjoyed reading either very much or quite a lot, compared with 72 per cent of pupils aged 8 to 11.

The research also revealed that students at key stage 4 are substantially less likely to say reading is “cool” – 24 per cent versus 70 per cent at key stage 2 – and only 36 per cent of the older pupils see the “relevance” of reading to employability compared with 71 per cent of children at key stage 2.

There is also a gender gap, with 61 per cent of girls enjoying reading versus 47 per cent of boys.

Jonathan Douglas, the trust’s director, says “energies” in primary pupils who enjoy reading needs to be released into secondary schools.

Influencing factors for the disparity between the two groups could include the pressures of academic studies, lack of time and less parental influence.

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