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Literacy Heroes

At the end of 2013, to celebrate 20 years of working to improve literacy skills, we launched a national search for Literacy Heroes – people who have overcome problems with reading and writing, or helped inspire other people to improve their literacy skills.

We assembled a panel of celebrity judges, who were asked to consider:

  • The impact and contribution a nominated Literacy Hero has made to the literacy or reading lives of others and/or themselves.
  • How a Literacy Hero’s contribution reflects the overall aims of the National Literacy Trust in promoting literacy and reading to as many people as possible and in supporting literacy as an essential tool for life.
  • The creativity and resourcefulness of the nominee, and personal challenges they may have had to overcome.

Our top 10 Literacy Heroes

Our top 10 Literacy Heroes were announced at a VIP event hosted by our Patron, HRH The Duchess of Cornwall, at Clarence House in London on 4 December. They are all inspiring individuals who have either made a significant impact on the reading skills of others or overcome problems to succeed themselves.  

  • Jodie Evans, an Oxfordshire community college pupil who has overcome literacy issues to become a school library champion
  • Ruth Gasson, a youth librarian who having been excluded from school herself went on to create opportunities for NEETs and disadvantaged young people to improve their literacy.
  • Lyn Hopson, a school librarian from Doncaster who runs innovative schemes to promote a love of reading among local young people
  • Velda Jackson, a Higher Learning Teacher Assistant and tireless supporter of young children’s literacy from Leeds
  • Richard O'Neill, a Romany gypsy author and storyteller who works in schools to inspire and improve outcomes for Gypsy, Roma and Traveller pupils
  • JK Rowling, a bestselling author who has turned a new generation of children into avid readers
  • Caroline Thain, an inspiring English teacher at an academy in Aberdeen
  • Henry Winkler, ‘The Fonz’ and children’s author who has dyslexia and has raised the profile and accessibility of reading to thousands of school children with learning challenges
  • Lisa Yong Hui Li, a secondary school pupil who has made amazing achievements with English as her second language
  • A prisoner from HMP The Mount who is involved with the Storybook Dads project 

Literacy Heroes with HRH The Duchess of Cornwall and Henry Winkler

HRH The Duchess of Cornwall said:

“As Patron of the National Literacy Trust, I am delighted to honour these 10 Literacy Heroes, all of whom have shown outstanding commitment to inspiring literacy in others, or who have made truly significant achievements themselves.”

Jonathan Douglas, Director of the National Literacy Trust said:

“Literacy Heroes and reading role models have never been more important at a time when our research shows that children’s reading performance is declining, children are reading less and are holding more negative attitudes towards reading. The National Literacy Trust is delighted to celebrate our 20th anniversary by honouring the UK’s top 10 Literacy Heroes who have made inspiring and significant strides to improve their own literacy or create positive opportunities for others.”

Message from our patron

Read a message from HRH the Duchess of Cornwall in support of our campaign.

Read more

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The National Literacy Trust is a registered charity no. 1116260 and a company limited by guarantee no. 5836486 registered in England and Wales and a registered charity in Scotland no. SC042944.
Registered address: 68 South Lambeth Road, London SW8 1RL.