Why we exist
World Literacy Foundation (WLF) aims to eradicate illiteracy by 2040. UK Reads – a WLF initiative focuses directly on the children impacted by illiteracy in the United Kingdom.
This initiative provides children from disadvantaged backgrounds access to suitable, fun and engaging books.
New scientific research confirms that a child’s early years brain development shapes the adults they become, the success they achieve and the contributions they make to the economy and society.
Research has also identified the “word gap” which means many children who grow up in low-income families enter school with substantially smaller vocabularies than their classmates. This disadvantage leads to further disparities in achievement and success over time, from academic performance, persistence to earnings and family stability, even 20 to 30 years later.
UK Reads focusses on early intervention so that every child has the strongest chance to reach their full potential.
To promote reading skills and literacy for children, beginning at birth to nineteen years old and to support parents to become their child’s first teacher
For every child in the UK to have access to free books and the literacy support they need by engaging and supporting families to understand the critical importance of childhood literacy and take a proactive role in their child’s reading development.
“Learning to read is such a fundamental skill and sets children up to excel at school and in life, but illiteracy is a reality for many. I am proud to support UK Reads in its aim to bring the joy and power of reading to UK children and their families who don’t have any books at home.”
– Dame Helen Mirren, UK Reads Ambassador
Photography by: David Venni
Our UK story so far…
In 2005, the World Literacy Foundation started the transportation of children’s books to Africa and a few years later we expanded our programs to the United States, United Kingdom and Australia.
In 2012 we began the World Literacy Summit at Oxford University, bringing together the global literacy community to build greater collaboration and partnerships.
Due to its success, the summit was held again in 2014, 2018 and in 2020 we moved to a Covid-19 safe online conference.
As a response to the vital need for UK children to have access to books at home, supporting parents to become their child’s first teacher and literacy support, UK Reads was launched in 2020. Our UK services will reach 2000+ children this year.
Our global impact
In 2019, the team reached more than 315,000 children and young people with our services in the US, Australia, UK, Africa, and Latin America – all thanks to generous donations and volunteer support.
Literacy is the pathway to young people reaching their full potential.
“Reading skills are the key determining factor for a child’s future academic success and reaching their full potential”
UK Annual Report
Research behind UK Reads
At Awesome Books we are the no 1 ethical bookseller in the UK. We are proud to support the World Literacy Foundation together with a range of literacy charities in the UK, providing high quality books for vulnerable and lower income households and encouraging interest in reading from the earliest ages.