Instilling a love of reading, right from birth….

Since officially launching in 2020, UK Reads has:

  • delivered books to over 45,000 children
  • provided nearly 3,000 literacy packs
  • delivered Story Box Workshops to over 100 families
  • connected over 300 children through our Pen Pal Project

“The books will help significantly with providing our most valuable pupils with additional reading materials to support their learning and foster love for reading.”   Teacher- Birmingham

“Together we are sending the message that books and reading are for everyone and that nobody should be without them.” Teacher – Devon

Archie’s Story

Archie only has one school jumper; it is dirty and worn. Sadly, Archie is bullied by some children at school for looking unclean and having to ask for extra help in class. They call him stupid. Archie is 10 but he has the reading age of a 7-year-old, he dreams of being a doctor, but cruel comments have chipped away at his confidence. Last year, Archie was given a book by UK Reads for Christmas. At first he didn’t understand that it was his to keep. When this was explained to him, he hugged the book to his chest.

That book opened up a pirate adventure to Archie and took him far away from the block of flats where he lives. He later told his teacher that he would like another book to read, so they found one together in the school library and his teacher introduced him to his local youth club where there is a UK Reads reading corner. During lockdown the children were able to collect books from the reading corner, which are theirs to keep. Archie’s reading has helped him through this lonely time and his reading is steadily improving. His teacher has told us that having his own books and resources, along with his improved reading level, have improved his confidence no end! He has made some new friends and is looking forward to the youth center opening up this summer.

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Following a UK Reads project:

95% of children have felt a positive impact from attending

86% of parents are reading more regularly with their children

82% of teachers can see increased literacy enjoyment and confidence

Alfie’s Story

Alfie is 6 years old.  He lives with his mum, dad and five siblings. Life at home is noisy and chaotic. Alfie’s mum suffers with a range of health issues and his dad is her primary carer.

When Alfie started school in 2020, he had a very limited vocabulary and struggled to communicate with his classmates. Not long after joining school, the COVID-19 lockdowns meant Alfie and the rest of his class were sent home.

Trying to home-school six children was incredibly challenging for Alfie’s parents, Alfie struggled with the online learning and would frequently refuse to join in. Alfie had no physical books at home and by the time he returned to class this Spring he had forgotten what little reading progress he had made. Alfie’s parents want the absolute best for all of their children and have been working with the school. However, homework and reading were still falling by the wayside, and they knew they needed some extra support.

His teachers could see Alfie’s potential and knew that if they could get his family onside with reading at home, then all of his school work would become much easier for Alfie. So, Alfie and his dad recently took part in a UK Reads Story Box Project- a series of workshops designed to boost reading confidence and enjoyment, and place reading at the heart of the home.

The workshops took Alfie and his dad through a range of activities, which gave them an opportunity to bond over books, boost their self confidence with reading and help them establish a reading routine at home to benefit the whole family.

Alfie’s family were given their very own Story Box packed full of all of the resources they need to start their reading journey, including books, a snuggly reading blanket, pens, paper and props to bring their stories to life.

Following their recent Story Box Project, Alfie’s dad told us “We’re going through a really tough time at the moment. I think this will help him. I feel more relaxed. It’s helped me.  I thought your sessions were brilliant, not just for reading but for our mental health too”.

Thanks to the family’s new reading routine, Alfie’s vocabulary has increased and he is approaching his learning with more confidence and enthusiasm.  By putting reading at the heart of the home, Alfie now has a regular opportunity to bond with his parents, widen his vocabulary, relax, unwind and escape into the pages of a story.

“It’s built up my confidence. I felt like I could express myself.” Jonny- aged 10

“It helped us understand that reading is good for you.”  Kai- aged 9

Charlie’s Story

Charlie has long standing health issues and his Mum also has to care for his Dad. Life hasn’t been easy but Charlie has become an imaginative, funny 8 year old. When it came to reading though Charlie would lose his spark and his Mum described getting him to read as ‘a nightmare!’.

This Spring Charlie and his Mum took part in a UK Reads Story Box Project- four creative, online sessions led by children’s author, Tom McLaughlin. Charlie had received a Story Box beforehand with books, fun props to bring the stories to life and badges in secret envelopes! Since taking part Charlie and his Mum have been reading together, making their own books, and even involving Charlie’s older brother who is also a reluctant reader. The family have discovered the joy of reading and Charlie’s new confidence has really helped him to better engage with learning at school and at home.

Fun facts!

This winter we had 400 fantastic volunteers sign up to deliver books to children in time for Christmas! If you’re interested in volunteering, please email us at info@ukreads.org

Every child who attends a UK Reads workshop receives a selection of educational goodies to take home with them.

Every year we train over 1000 Youth Ambassadors to become literacy champions- for more info  click here.

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Get in touch


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

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We work to lift young people out of poverty through the power of literacy At UK Reads we believe every child, no matter their circumstances should have one book and access to the literacy support they need so that they can experience the joy of reading and have endless opportunities in their life. The UK illiteracy statistics are startling. Almost 400,000 children do not own a single book and 1 in 5 children struggle to read and write. These numbers are continuously growing and children from low-income families are the most at risk of illiteracy. We are here to support them. Despite this digital world, we believe it is an essential life skill for a child to become confident in literacy. At UK Reads we want children to know the pure joy of escaping into stories, learning new words, the pride of completing a book, all the while setting strong foundations for their futures. *National Literacy Trust Statistics









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 free 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 focuses on early intervention so that every child has the strongest chance to reach their full potential.

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.

Mission 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 Vision 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.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.

Children today read less frequently than any previous generation and enjoy reading less than young people did in the past, according to new research. Flora Ferguson, with her storybooks. How I managed to raise a little bookworm in the age of smartphones and tablets Read more The work, to be published by the National Literacy Trust in the run-up to World Book Day on Thursday, shows that in 2019 just 26% of under-18s spent some time each day reading. This is the lowest daily level recorded since the charity first surveyed children’s reading habits in 2005. It also found that fewer children enjoy reading, and that this dwindled with age: nearly twice as many five to eight-year-olds as 14 to 16-year-olds said they took pleasure from reading. Overall, just 53% of children said they enjoyed reading “very much” or “quite a lot” – the lowest level since 2013. The poet and former children’s laureate Michael Rosen said the findings should act as a wake-up call for the government. “We have countless examples of research showing that children who read for pleasure widely and often are best able to benefit from what education offers. Berating parents, children or teachers for ‘failing’ will solve nothing. It [improving reading levels] needs full government backing, with as much money and effort as they put into compulsory phonics teaching, to support schools and communities in this.” The survey found a marked gender divide when it comes to reading for pleasure: less than half (47%) of boys were keen readers, compared with 60% of girls. A third of children surveyed reported being unable to find things to read that interested them. World Book Day, a charity event held annually in the UK and Ireland, will this year call on readers of all ages to “share a million stories” by reading aloud or listening to a story for at least 10 minutes a day with friends and family. World Book Day chief executive Cassie Chadderton said this activity can turn a reluctant reader into a child who reads for pleasure.