The National Literacy Trust charity, which carried out the survey, said the proportion had risen from one in 10 in 2005.
The decline in children’s book ownership is of particular concern as the report shows that the number of books in the home is directly linked to children’s reading levels.
Of those who have books of their own, more than half are above average readers while a third read at the expected level.
The research also found that children and young people who read a book a week or more are more likely to enjoy reading and to do better at school.
Jonathan Douglas, director of the charity, said children were reading from books and even computers less, but watching films and images on screens more.