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The Duchess of Cornwall launches search for Literacy Heroes

4 Oct 2013

New National Literacy Trust research reveals children are spending less of their own time reading and are increasingly embarrassed to be seen reading.

The National Literacy Trust research with 35,000 8-16 year olds found that:

  • Numbers of children reading in their own time fell by a quarter from 2005 (28.4% compared with 38.1%)
  • Nearly a third more children are embarrassed to be seen reading than they were just two years ago (21.5% vs 16.6%)
  • Children who don't think “reading is cool” are 4 times more likely to be below average readers (22.7% vs 5.8%)
  • More than a quarter of children say their parents don’t care if they read (26.6%) – these children are half as likely to be above average readers

In a search for role models to reverse this trend the National Literacy Trust and its Patron, HRH The Duchess of Cornwall are calling on the nation to vote for their Literacy Heroes. The campaign will celebrate inspiring individuals who have either made a significant impact on the reading skills of others or overcome problems with literacy themselves.

In a climate where children’s attitudes to reading are increasingly negative, the Literacy Heroes campaign seeks to honour individuals from all walks of life who have made a positive impact on reading, writing and communication. These role models could be a young person who has overcome challenges, an author who has inspired people to read or write, a teacher or librarian, a community volunteer, a supportive family member or even a celebrity.

In a message to the National Literacy Trust, HRH The Duchess of Cornwall says:

“As Patron of the National Literacy Trust, I am delighted to support this imaginative and timely campaign to find the country's Literacy Heroes.

I firmly believe in the importance of igniting a passion for reading in the next generation. In a world where the written word competes with so many other calls on our attention, we need more Literacy Heroes to keep inspiring young people to find the pleasure and power of reading for themselves."  

Celebrity judges will help to select the Literacy Heroes. These include bestselling authors Joanna Trollope,Cressida Cowell and Dorothy Koomson; entrepreneur Levi Roots; actor, comedian and writer Miles Jupp; and columnist Lucy Mangan. The judges have all nominated their own Literacy Heroes, which can be viewed here

Jonathan Douglas, Director of the National Literacy Trust says:

“Our research not only reveals that children are reading less and developing more negative attitudes towards reading, but also that there is a clear correlation between this and their performance in reading tests. As poor reading, writing and communication skills will hold children back at school and throughout life, Literacy Heroes and reading role models have never been more important.

“We are delighted that our Patron HRH The Duchess of Cornwall is helping us to celebrate our 20th anniversary year by honouring those individuals who have made significant achievements in literacy.”

You can nominate your own Literacy Hero here by 5pm on Sunday 27 October 2013. The winning Literacy Heroes will be celebrated at a special VIP event in December. 

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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.