The PISA in Focus report – based on how many children read for pleasure – has shown the UK is ranked 47th out of 65 nations, coming behind Kazakhstan, Albania and Estonia among others.
The report was published by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the results showed that around two-thirds of students across all OECD countries pick up a book each day because they want to. However, some 37% do not read for enjoyment.
The findings showed that around 60% of 15-year-olds in Britain enjoy reading, an penchant that could be further developed through a structured reading programme.
Top of the table are Kazakhstan, Albania, Shanghai-China and Thailand, with more than 90% of children reading for enjoyment.
The figures are drawn from Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) tests taken by students in OECD countries in 2009.
The report says: “Reading for enjoyment is associated with reading proficiency: PISA finds that a crucial difference between students who perform well in the PISA reading assessment and those who perform poorly lies in whether they read daily for enjoyment, rather than in how much time they spend reading.
“On average, students who read daily for enjoyment score the equivalent of one and a half years of schooling better than those who do not.”