Children are reading more during the coronavirus lockdown, according to a new survey.

The Reading Agency research found that 89% of seven to 11-year-olds have been reading in some form during the period, with 37% of them spending more time on the pursuit than they were before schools closed.

Of those children surveyed, 40% said that reading had helped them relax, while 35% said it had made them happy.

The majority of children find inspiration for what to read from digital influences, with 45% turning to YouTube and 28% to social media for ideas.

The survey, which polled 14,461 seven to 11-year-olds, also found that 68% of boys and 70% of girls reported a love of reading.

Around three in five (61%) of children have opted to read books with chapters during the lockdown, while 40% have been reading comics.

The Reading Agency is currently running its Summer Reading Challenge initiative, which aims to encourage young people to pick up a book.

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Dame Jacqueline Wilson is among those backing the Summer Reading Challenge initiative (Ian West/PA)

Dame Jacqueline Wilson, Paul O’Grady, David Baddiel, Ben Fogle and Konnie Huq are among the celebrity backers of the challenge.

Carol Stump, president of Libraries Connected, which is supporting the Summer Reading Challenge, said: “This recent survey shows just how important reading is to help children stay positive and keep laughing in challenging times, and although the challenge might not look the same as in previous years, I know all our wonderful library teams will be working with the Reading Agency to inspire children to read and giggle their way through the summer.

“Remember, if you can’t get to us or don’t have any books at home, we have wonderful e-book and e-audiobook collections full of fantastic reads for children and families.”