It’s a bug of a different kind and one many parents won’t mind their children catching
According to new research, growing numbers of youngsters are catching the reading bug, with many choosing to pick up a book in their spare time.
An annual survey by the National Literacy Trust, questioned eight to 18-year-olds about their reading habits.
It found more than half of the 32,000 involved said they enjoy reading quite a lot or very much, the highest it has been since the survey began in 2010.
Figures from the last 12 months showed there was a 28 per cent increase in those who read on a daily basis, with two in five doing so outside of class.
Trust supporter Michael Morpurgo, author of War Horse, said: “How good it is to have some heartening news about young readers, to know that there are so many now who have taken to reading and are making it part of their lives.
This is quiet enrichment. This is growing awareness and understanding. This is the heart of the matter of education for life.”
The annual study did see a drop in the proportion of youngsters who say their parents do not care if they spend any time reading.
Just over 24 per cent said this was the case, compared to just over 25 per cent the year before.
A further breakdown of the figures shows that girls are keener on reading than their male classmates, with 46 per cent saying they read daily outside class, compared to just over 35 per cent of boys.
Mr Morpurgo added: “Too many boys still seem disinterested in reading, and far, far too many children simply never become readers at all.
So we writers and illustrators and storytellers, and parents and teachers, and publishers and booksellers, must continue to play our part.”
He added: “And government too should remember that literacy must first and foremost be enjoyed, if we are to engage our most reluctant readers, and remember too that libraries and librarians, both in schools and in our communities, must be a priority.”
Diary of a Wimpy Kid, The Hunger Games, Twilight and Harry Potter, were among the most mentioned favourite fiction books.
Trust director Jonathan Douglas said: “It is very encouraging to see that the number of children who read every day has radically increased.
However, it is a real concern that a third of the most disadvantaged children think their parents do not care whether they read.
More must be done to help parents realise what a difference reading with their children from a young age can make to their future.”
So, if reading before bedtime is not currently part of the evening routine, perhaps you should think about adding it on.
Many of the books in the top ten favourites are an enjoyable read for parents too.