Research papers

For teachers interested in understanding why children and young people do (and don’t) read books (and other text types) …… read on!

In 2020, three papers were published from our Growing Up A Reader project. Each paper is summarised below, with links to the research paper and poster summaries are also available for teachers!

Children’s and adolescents’ perceptions of a reader: Our first paper focused on children’s and adolescents’ perceptions of a reader. That is, how children and adolescents’ describe ‘a reader’ and the similarities and differences in their descriptions. We found that readers were described as people who enjoy reading, read frequently, choose to read and, primarily read print books. You can learn more about this research here:

Why children read different text types: Our second paper focused on understanding what motivates children to read different text types (e.g., books, magazines, comics etc). We found that children reported reading books to feel happy, relaxed, excited, for immersion/escapism, to develop their reading skills, because reading was important, or because it was a habit or familiar. On the other hand, children often read other text types for different reasons (e.g., to stay informed, because they were easy to read, etc). This paper is open access (i.e., freely available to all) and can found here:

Why adolescents choose (or don’t choose) to read books: Our third paper examined why adolescents choose (or don’t choose) to read books. We found that book reading offered an opportunity for adolescents to relax, learn, escape the real world, become immersed, was exciting, developed empathy skills, and provided a form of social capital. However, adolescents also reported reasons why they didn’t read books, these included a lack of time, it was too effortful, was not encouraged, was expensive, uncool, or had simply lost the habit or grown out of it. This paper also includes practical suggestions for teachers (Take Action box) and further light reading (More to Explore box). This paper is also open access and available here:

Finally, we’ve created short summaries of each of these papers, so that busy teachers can access our research quickly. These are available to download here: