School pupils who enjoy reading and writing are three times as likely to have higher levels of mental wellbeing than their disengaged peers – 39.4 per cent compared to 11.8 per cent, research from charity National Literacy Trust (NLT) has found. The Independent reports.
The survey, of almost 50,000 children, reveals that 40.3 per cent of children with above expected reading skills had high levels of mental wellbeing, compared to 13.1 per cent who had below expected reading skills.
Jonathan Douglas, director of the NLT, said: “It is imperative that we do everything we can to enable our children to develop the resilience they need to cope with life’s challenges – and our latest research shows that the joys of reading and writing can be hugely beneficial.
“Not only does a love of reading and writing enable children to flourish at school, but we now also know it can play a vital role in supporting children to lead happy and healthy lives.”
Catherine Roche, chief executive of children’s mental health charity Place2Be, said: “Escaping in a good story is not only a great way to cope when you’re feeling stressed or worried, but can also be a fantastic opportunity for children to explore difficult feelings, understand them, and feel less alone.
“Whether you relate to Harry Potter or the Hulk, if we want to help children to build their resilience and cope with life’s inevitable challenges, spending time with your child and encouraging a love of reading and writing is a good place to start.”
Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT said: “The importance of reading for pleasure is well understood. Schools devote time to this, to allow pupils to become lost in a good book, as the saying goes.
“But this time is in danger of getting lost now, too. Changes to the curriculum and higher stakes tests and exams mean that reading for pleasure can be squeezed out of the school day.”
Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin
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