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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.