Scores of children are being bullied for reading while many are hiding the fact they enjoy books, according to a study.
The YoungPoll survey, which asked 500 schoolchildren aged eight-13 if they had been picked on for reading at school, found 12% of those in the South East had.
Statistics also showed how 6% have hidden they read from their friends while 42% of children spent less than an hour reading during half term.
Haddenham-based author Steve Cole, who will write the new series of James Bond books for children, said the problem may be due to jealousy from point scoring systems.
Mr Cole, 42, said: “It shouldn’t be about scoring points, reading should be for pleasure.
“Readers score points and there are always going to be an element at school who pick on those that do well.”
The novelist, currently working on a comedy science fiction book, said: “The quality of writing has never been higher.
“There’s a wonderful load of books by fantastic authors so take your children to the bookshops, let them hold the books and look at the pictures on the covers. Parents should also show their children that they are reading themselves.
“If you keep going and make it enjoyable downtime with your child and that is when the pleasure comes.”