New research published today by the National Literacy Trust shows one in fifteen children in the North East don't own a book of their own - with half a million children across the UK in the same position.
Numbers rise dramatically to 1 in 10 for children on free school meals.
This follows part of the emerging trend across the country as the educational attainment gap grows between children from disadvantaged backgrounds and their more affluent peers.
National Literacy Trust research has previously shown that children who have books at home are six times more likely to read above the expected level for their age, which therefore means they are more likely to succeed at school and start to break the intergenerational cycle of low literacy and poverty.
Their newest report confirms this, showing that children from areas with higher levels of disadvantage are more likely to have fewer than 10 books at home, and as a result have the lowest levels of reading enjoyment and reading frequency.
Those with the least number of books of home were also the least likely to read for educational purposes and had the lowest confidence levels in their reading ability, highlighting the crucial importance of equalising access to books.
Jonathan Douglas CBE, Chief Executive of the National Literacy Trust says: “Being able to share a story with your child at Christmas time is something every family should be able to do.
"The fact that half a million children across the country might not have that option is devastating, and the absence of books in the home will have a knock-on effect for the rest of a child’s life.
"Reading and books don’t just give children and families these treasured moments together, they also build the key literacy skills that children need to succeed."
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