Why you should give the Gift of Reading this Christmas
Posted by Lizzie Poulton
12 Dec 2011
Books at Christmas can hold special memories. I was putting together a Christmas Booklist for work recently and lost far too much time reminiscing about playing for hours with all of the letters the Jolly Christmas Postman had in his book. I imagine a lot of you will have your own special Christmas book memories and books on your Christmas list you’d like to receive this year. Books for many of us are fun and enjoyable; ideal gifts to be given and always gratefully received.
Enjoying books and reading for fun is, as the words suggest, enjoyable and fun but we also know it’s a lot more than that. The OECD ‘Reading for Change’ study in 2002 found that reading for pleasure was the most important indicator of the future success of a child. The same study found that enjoyment of reading has a greater impact on a child’s educational achievement than their parents’ socio-economic status. Reading for fun can make a real difference to a child’s life chances.
Research also shows the number of books in a child’s home can also make a big difference to their life – a recent study proved that whether rich or poor, resident in the United States or China, illiterate or college graduate, parents who have books in the home increase the level of education their children will attain. Sadly, our recent research suggests one in three children in the UK does not have books of their own and nearly 20% have never received a book as a present.
The National Literacy Trust’s Young Readers Programme works with children in disadvantaged areas, inspiring them to develop a love of reading and giving them the chance to choose brand new books to keep. We involve children, schools and libraries in inspirational literacy events which link fun and reading for disadvantaged children. As a part of each project, children choose free books to keep, often the first books participating children will own.
For many of the children the events and being able to choose their own book marks a real change in their attitudes towards reading and books:
“R. does not own a lot of books at home and does not engage with many of the books in our class libraries. At the start of the year, he was seriously underachieving in reading. He chose a graphic novel for his first book, and has now developed a real love for this genre as he feels it's accessible for him. By the end of the year, he had made really good progress with his reading and is much more enthusiastic about engaging will all types of text.”
This Christmas, you can help to support our work and help us reach more children like R. by giving the Gift of Reading to a friend or relative, or as a gift for yourself. Find out more about giving the Gift of Reading.
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- New year, new futures for children in Literacy news by Fiona Lewis