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Literacy news

McDonald's UK brings the extraordinary world of Roald Dahl to millions of children

22 Sep 2015

We’re delighted to announce that McDonald’s UK will be giving away 14 million abridged Roald Dahl books, in partnership with the National Literacy Trust, Penguin Random House and Roald Dahl Literacy Estate.

For six weeks from tomorrow, eight different books will be distributed with Happy Meals, each containing themed extracts from two of Roald Dahl’s best loved novels. Families will be able to discover the author’s magical characters together – from the BFG and the Twits to Matilda, Fantastic Mr Fox and many more.

Since 2013, McDonald's has given away more than 22.8 million books through its Happy Readers initiative, which aims to increase book ownership and encourage children in the UK to discover a love of reading. Our research shows that almost one in seven children say they don’t have a book of their own and only half of children enjoy reading.

Earlier today, our Deputy Director Abigail Moss was interviewed by 13 radio stations about the Happy Readers campaign. She shared the importance of children’s book ownership and reading outside the classroom. Abigail said:

 “Reading and telling stories together as a family is so important in giving children a solid grounding in literacy skills and helping them to reach their full potential. Many parents will have enjoyed the wonderful world of Roald Dahl when they were young and now they’ll be able to share these iconic stories with their children. The scale of the campaign will reach millions of children, including many who haven’t owned a book before, inspiring them to enjoy reading and improving their life chances.”

Steve Hill, Head of Marketing at McDonald’s UK said:

“Dads like me grew up on the magic of Roald Dahl and his extraordinary characters.  Finding time for families to have fun together is all part of a trip to McDonald’s, so I’m thrilled we’re able to introduce the likes of Matilda, James and his Giant Peach and the wonderfully ludicrous Twits to a new generation of readers.”

In addition to the 14 million Roald Dahl books that will be handed out, McDonald’s UK has also developed a new, first of its kind app that helps to bring Roald Dahl’s stories to life. It uses voice recognition technology and plays relevant sounds and visuals when it hears trigger words. The app also offers activities which relate to each of the stories, which can be accessed by downloading Happy Studio.

The campaign was celebrated with a storytelling event on Saturday 19 September, where top parenting bloggers and their children enjoyed Roald-Dahl performances from immersive theatre group, Travelled Companions. The group will perform at four further restaurants in Cardiff, Glasgow, Belfast and Liverpool during the coming weeks.

To support the launch, McDonald’s has today released the results of an intergenerational survey of 3,000 grandparents, children and parents, which reveals the ultimate ingredients for a great storyteller. Find out more here

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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.