Gender gap in children’s reading enjoyment narrows, new ROGO research finds

  • ROGO launches best practice guide to close gender gap in reading enjoyment
  • Children’s author Cressida Cowell publishes top reading tips for kids and parents

New research from the Read On. Get On. (ROGO) coalition, which comprises 12 charities and education organisations aiming to get all children reading well by the age of 11, reveals that the gender gap in children’s reading enjoyment has narrowed by 5 percentage points since 2014.

In this time, the percentage of 11-year-old boys who enjoy reading has increased six times faster than the percentage of girls who enjoy reading (9.5% vs 1.4%). Yet girls still outperform boys in all areas of reading recognised by the coalition to be vital for children to read well at age 11: enjoyment (79.4% vs 70.4%), daily reading levels (57% vs 44.7%) and skills (89.1% vs 83.2%).

The ROGO Index 2018 also looked at how well England’s 11-year-olds are reading in 2018, and found that children’s overall enjoyment of reading (74.7%) and daily reading levels (50.5%) lag worryingly behind their reading skills (85.7%).

Jonathan Douglas, Director of the National Literacy Trust (which holds the secretariat for the ROGO coalition), said: “The relationship between children’s enjoyment of reading, how often they read outside school and their academic attainment is critical. Despite positive trends in boys’ reading enjoyment, children’s overall levels of reading enjoyment and daily reading levels continue to lag behind their reading skills. To give children the best possible opportunities in life, we must close this gap. It’s time to put reading for enjoyment at the heart of our children’s lives.”

Analysis from the National Literacy Trust suggests that getting more children to enjoy reading could also be the key to raising daily reading levels and getting more 11-year-olds reading well: 11-year-olds who enjoy reading are three times more likely to read daily outside school than those who don’t (60.9% vs 20.1%).

To help close the gender gap in children’s reading enjoyment, and to get more children reading outside school on a daily basis, the ROGO coalition has published a best practice guide for primary schools containing a range of different activities and initiatives. The free resource is available to download from

To support the ROGO campaign, award-winning children’s author Cressida Cowell has collaborated with the National Literacy Trust to create:
* An eye-catching poster for Key Stage 1 pupils, filled with her top tips for reading and colourful illustrations by Neal Layton from their Emily Brown books
* An engaging poster for Key Stage 2 pupils, featuring Cressida’s top tips for discovering the magic of reading and her wonderful illustrations from The Wizards of Once series
* A top tips leaflet for parents containing achievable advice on how to encourage and support children’s reading at home

Cressida Cowell said: “If we want our country, our children, to thrive in the future, we would do well to heed these statistics and put the joy of reading back into the heart of education and home life. The quest to get every child reading for pleasure is not just an optional extra – it’s an imperative.”

Get involved

For more information and to download your free ROGO best practice guide, posters for children and top tips for parents, visit our resources page

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