63 percent of UK parents don’t read newspapers or magazines to their kids

A recent survey by YouGov for Readly, the all-you-can-read subscription service, has shown that despite the evidence that reading is essential for children’s development, reading to children is not a priority for many parents and caregivers in the UK. A third (31 percent) of parents and grandparents don’t read together with their children and more alarmingly, 63% do not read newspapers, magazines or journalistic content to their children. 

The study of over 2,000 adults on family reading habits also found that only 24% of parents or grandparents read to their children or grandchildren daily. 21% read to their children several times a week and 13% read to their children only once a week. 15% reported reading with their children just a couple of times a month.

Chris Couchman, Head of content at Readly says, “Times have been extremely tough, parents and caregivers are doing the best they can. At Readly, we want to make reading fun for children giving accessibility to a range of content and comics at their fingertips. On the platform, our readers have shown an increased interest in comic magazines to which readership has grown in the last year. Comics are a great option for children to be inspired and immerse themselves in a world of visual storytelling.”

Whilst reading fiction is often the go-to for parents to read to their kids, it is also beneficial for children to read newspapers and other journalistic publications, even if it is just to open up a discussion or conversation on a current topic. Reading material such as newspapers, magazines, and other journalistic content allows children to be connected to the community, promotes literacy, and encourages conversation and awareness of the world around them. 

However, the majority of respondents within this survey, don’t read journalistic material to their children. Here are the numbers:

  • While 35% of respondents read and discuss journalistic content with their children, a whopping 63% of UK parents choose not to read newspapers or magazines to their kids.

  • Of those who are reading journalistic content to their kids; Only 13% read this kind of content daily, and 35% do so several times a week
  • 45% of those surveyed believe that it’s important that their children have access to verified journalistic content, but only 15% of those kids have access to this content. 

Fay Lant, Head of School Programmes at the National Literacy Trust said:

“The power of reading is strong. Low literacy skills can hold a person back at every stage of their life, so it’s really important to encourage young people to read, and read widely, from an early age. 

Magazines are a brilliant way to engage reluctant readers by starting with any area they are interested in. If children are particularly into cooking for example, they could cut out recipes from newspapers, read up on chefs' biographies, subscribe to a food magazine and enjoy these at home with their families for inspiration. Comics help children who struggle with their reading to develop their understanding of character and storytelling using engaging images and the connected words. Reading news articles strengthens children's critical literacy skills which are vital for navigating information and the world around them. All reading counts!”

Readly currently offers over 5000 titles on its platform with many titles for children to choose from as part of the Readly subscription including National Geographic Kids, Beano, Minecraft Secrets & Cheats, Go Girl, Animal Planet, Cocoa Boy and Cocoa Girl.

Fay Lant, Head of School Programmes at the National Literacy Trust gives her top tips to encourage reading: 

1. Make reading fun: start with your child's interests and find reading materials to support them e.g. football match day programmes, leaflets or information about sea creatures, books about space etc. Comics can also be a fun way to engage reluctant or struggling readers, helping develop their understanding of narrative and character.

2. Don’t be afraid to embrace technology to encourage reading. Just because children are turning to devices doesn’t mean they have to choose between technology and reading. There are so many easily accessible materials on the web which can encourage our children’s literary growth. Many kids have tablets from a young age nowadays, so download age-appropriate reading apps that are engaging, fun, and educational. Apps, like Readly, are a great tool to encourage reading according to their interests. Readly has over 100 children’s and youth titles on the app in 17 different languages.

3. Find regular opportunities for reading: As well as during dedicated time for reading, find opportunities for reading as part of your daily activities. For example, children can use your supermarket shopping list to find the matching food item or look at signs in the park.

4. Encourage writing and drawing their own stories: Encourage your child to draw and write their own stories to allow them to explore their imagination. There are no restrictions or rules, and your child has the opportunity to read out their work to siblings, friends or grandparents. There are heaps of directed drawing videos available on YouTube to help them learn to draw, and they can use their own imagination to fill in the storyline.

5. Lead by example: Children imitate their parents and adults around them. You can set a great example by talking about the latest article, magazine or comic book you’ve read or by reading your own book at the same time as your child. If you speak a language other than English at home, talk about picture books with your child in your home language. 

Chris Couchman, Head of Content at Readly added, “Now more than ever, we should be discussing journalistic content with our children to help them understand the changes in our world. Newspapers and magazines are real-time relevant reading to help shape their thoughts about news and what interests them. Journalistic platforms cover sports, events and incredible imagery too, which are great for children.”

Readly offers unlimited "all-you-can-read” access to over 5,000 digital magazines and newspapers in one app for £7.99 a month with many UK and international titles available - something for all the family to choose from.  During 2020 over 140,000 issues of magazines were distributed and read 99 million times on Readly. For more information visit

Notes to Editors:
The survey was carried out during the period from 15-17 March 2021 via the Internet, on the basis of the YouGov Panel.

For media enquiries:
Kate Tegelaars, press contact at Readly UK
+44 (0)7879 818 711,   

About Readly
Readly is a digital subscription service that lets customers have unlimited access to about 5,000 national and international magazines - all in one app. Founded by Joel Wikell in Sweden in 2012, Readly is today one of the leading companies in digital magazine subscriptions in Europe with users in 50 markets. In collaboration with around 900 publishers worldwide, Readly is digitizing the magazine industry. Our purpose is to bring the magic of magazines into the future, enabling the discovery and survival of quality content. During 2020 Readly distributed approximately 140,000 issues of magazines that have been read 99 million times. 

About the National Literacy TrustThe National Literacy Trust is dedicated to improving the reading, writing, speaking and listening skills of those who need it most, giving them the best possible chance of success in school, work and life. We run Literacy Hubs and campaigns in communities where low levels of literacy and social mobility are seriously impacting people’s lives. We support schools and early years settings to deliver outstanding literacy provision, and we campaign to make literacy a priority for politicians, businesses and parents. Our research and analysis make us the leading authority on literacy and drive our interventions. Literacy is a vital element of action against poverty and our work changes children’s life stories.