With one in four children leaving primary school unable to read properly, encouraging reading for pleasure is an important part of closing the nation’s literacy gap and boosting social mobility. This number increases for children from disadvantaged backgrounds, further highlighting the importance of encouraging children to read, which can help change their lives.
Through the Young Readers Programme, the National Literacy Trust aims to inspire primary aged children to read for enjoyment and develop their literacy skills through a series of fun events and programmes, and provides the opportunity for them to choose new books to keep. Research shows that such initiatives can have a lifelong impact on health, confidence, employability and happiness.
We have been delighted to support the delivery of the Young Readers Programme with schools in the Canada Water area for the last seven years, as part of our cross-country partnership with the National Literacy Trust. Last November, the 100,000th book from the programme was handed out at Peter Hills Primary School.
This year, around 240 pupils from three local schools – Rotherhithe Primary School, Peter Hills Primary School, and St John’s Catholic Primary School – have taken part. Every pupil who participates in the programme is guided in how to choose books that will interest them, before selecting three new books throughout the year to take home and keep. For many participants these are the first books they have ever owned, helping them nurture a love of reading.
The programme also hosts activities outside of schools to reach out to local communities. Most recently, the National Literacy Trust hosted a free storytelling event for children at Surrey Quays Shopping Centre. The interactive session invited children and parents to enjoy a collection of tales read by a professional storyteller, and also included free face painting. All the children who took part in the event were given a book to take away and enjoy at home.
Since 2013 the National Literacy Trust and British Land’s award-winning Young Readers Programme partnership has benefited over 1,500 local pupils, along with their teachers who receive training and resources to inspire future pupils, in Canada Water alone. British Land has been the Young Readers Programme’s largest supporter for several years, creating a lasting positive legacy in communities around its shopping centres and London office campuses.
For more information on the National Literacy Trust’s wider Young Readers Programme, please click here.