At 10am on Monday 10 October, over 1,000 people across The Black Country took part in the National Literacy Trust’s #Take10ToRead challenge, for World Mental Health Day. The campaign promotes the link between reading for pleasure and positive mental wellbeing, encouraging everyone to drop everything and read for ten minutes to boost their mood.
Over 250 children from local schools and early years settings tuned into a digital event with author and performer Jordan Stephens and illustrator Beth Suzanna, who read their story The Missing Piece (Bloomsbury Children’s Books). The duo discussed how they created the story together, sharing their favourite moments from the story, and encouraged children to take time to choose their own favourite words and pictures.
A further group of almost 800 children tuned into a second virtual event with Natalie Costa, author of Love Being You and Know Your Feelings (b small publishing). In this event for 7 to 12 year olds, Natalie discussed the creative process behind her books and encouraged children to take part in the Chase Rewarding Futures Reading Zone Challenge, before going on to share her top tips for looking after our minds. She then called upon all attendees to spend 10 minutes following the event for self-led reading time.
Alongside the two online events, Black Country Reads hosted three community events, in Bilston Library, Smethwick Library and Streetly Community Library, to encourage local families to take 10 minutes out of their day to read. Almost 90 children were joined by local storyteller Steve Stickley ‘Grandapa Sticks’ who shared stories with attendees and everyone that joined received a free goodie bag containing reading resources and a free book. Over 280 books were gifted in total throughout the week.
The #Take10ToRead challenge encourages schools, businesses and communities to stop what they’re doing and take the time to read and focus on their wellbeing every day. Research from the National Literacy Trust shows that reading can be an effective way of helping people to take care of their mental health and wellbeing. It only takes 10 minutes a day to see the benefits, including boosting mood, reducing stress levels and improving memory and concentration.
“We are thrilled to be supporting Take 10. In these difficult times, encouraging children to read and explore the world through different means has never been more important. #Take10ToRead is an excellent way of reaching children and families from many different communities across the UK, we are delighted to be able to support them and help nurture a love of reading.”Jordan Stephens and Beth Suzanna
“It’s fantastic to see that thousands children in The Black Country joined our incredible authors and illustrators, Jordan Stephens, Beth Suzanna and Natalie Costa to complete the #Take10ToRead challenge on World Mental Health Day. Taking just 10 minutes to read every day can have a huge impact on your mental wellbeing and I hope that people across The Black Country have been inspired to read for pleasure today and every day moving forward.”Aman Dandha, Black Country Reads Hub Manager
We are inviting everyone to share their Take 10 challenge on social media by using the hashtag #Take10ToRead. The #Take10ToRead challenge is part of the National Literacy Trust’s Connecting Stories campaign, proudly supported by Arts Council England.