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The Gruffalo is the most popular first read for British children, says new study

As the countdown to World Book Day on Thursday 7 March continues, a new study has revealed that The Gruffalo is the go-to book when it comes to reading to our children for the very first time.

The survey – which was commissioned by The Works – aimed to uncover reading habits among parents and children and whether our own experiences of reading influences how we read to our children, as well as the top books we read to children today.

The results proved overwhelmingly favourable towards Julia Donaldson titles, with The Gruffalo taking the crown as the number one read book to children. Joining The Gruffalo among the most popular, but just outside the top 10 were the likes of Zog and Room on the Broom, meaning one in five children have a Julia Donaldson book read to them as their very first story.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar is the second most read book to children as a first read, while the That’s Not My… series is the third most common set of books read to children as their first reads.

The full top 10 first books parents read to their children is:

  • The Gruffalo
  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar
  • That’s Not My…
  • Guess How Much I Love You
  • Peppa Pig
  • Spot
  • The Tale of Peter Rabbit
  • Dear Zoo
  • Winnie the Pooh
  • Harry Potter


When it comes to the age in which we’re reading to our children, 44% of parents pick up a book to engage their children in storytime from birth, while a further 27% of parents do so from under the age of two.

The full study can be found by clicking on this link.

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