About Us

Who are we?

The reality behind the literacy statistics amongst children in the UK is startling.

In the UK alone almost 400,000 children do not own a single book and one in five children struggle to read and write. These numbers are continuously growing.

Nourishing a child’s mind in the first 10 years of life is as essential as feeding their body. New scientific research confirms that what happens to children’s brain development in their earliest years shapes the adults they become, the success they achieve, and the contributions they make to our economy and society. Unfortunately, too many of our children today are not getting the nourishment they need.

Researchers have identified what they’re calling a “word gap.” 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 and persistence to earnings and family stability even 20 to 30 years later.

World Literacy Foundation aims to eradicate illiteracy by 2040. UK Reads – a project under the umbrella of the World Literacy Foundation focuses directly on the children impacted by illiteracy in the United Kingdom. UK Reads will provide children from disadvantaged backgrounds access to suitable, fun, and engaging books.


Our mission is to promote reading skills and literacy for children, beginning at birth to ten years old, and to support parents as the first teachers of their children. .


Every family will understand the critical importance of childhood literacy and will take an active role in their child’s reading development. All children in the United Kingdom will have books of their own.

Core Values

We are committed to making books a part of every child’s life from birth.
We are committed to supporting families playing a central role in their child’s early language and literacy.
We are committed to collaborative work with parents, partner organisations, and other community groups.
We are committed to financial sustainability.

Our story so far…

In 2005, the World Literacy Foundation started with 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.

Meanwhile, in 2012 we began the World Literacy Summit at Oxford University, bringing together the global literacy community to build greater collaboration and partnerships. It was a complete success and we decided to celebrate it again in 2014, 2018 and in 2020 we moved to an online conference, due to Covid-19 and the unforeseen circumstances worldwide.

Last year, we reached more than 315,000 children and young people with our services in the US, Australia, UK, Africa, and Latin America.

We believe 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

  • Children are reading less than ever before, research reveals

  • Three in 10 UK children 'own no books'

  • New Report Shows Decline in Children’s Reading for Pleasure and Daily Reading Habits

  • Only half of pre-school children being read to daily, UK study finds

Our Projects

Our Partners

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.

Mubin Ahmed

Director, Awesome Books

The Team

Andrew Kay

Andrew Kay

CEO & Founder
Caroline Burkie

Caroline Burkie

National Fundraising Manager

Get in touch


Suite 225 – 46 Eversholt Street
London NW1 1DA United Kingdom
Tel: +44 7 842930125
Charity No. 1154264


Our Newsletter

Subscribe now!