We published research today that shows that 1 in 8 disadvantaged children from the North Yorkshire Coast (11.4%) don’t have a single book of their own. These children are missing out on the vital benefits of book ownership for their reading skills, enjoyment and mental wellbeing.
We surveyed 56,906 UK children and young people aged 9-18 and found that, compared to children who don’t have a book of the own, children who own books are:
- Six times more likely to read above the level expected for their age (22% vs 3.6%)
- Nearly three times more likely to enjoy reading (56.2% vs 18.4%)
- More than twice as likely to agree that reading is cool (42.5% vs 16.6%)
This builds on previous research which found that children who own books are also more likely to have higher levels of mental wellbeing than their peers who don’t own books.
In the past year, Our Stories has gifted over 5,000 brand new books to children and young people in Whitby, Scarborough and Filey. However, we want to close the gap in book ownership once and for all and are calling on the public to give the gift of reading this Christmas.
For those wanting to gift a book to a child in their life this Christmas, we have just published North Yorkshire Coast’s 100 Reads – the most popular children’s books in Whitby, Scarborough and Filey, as voted for by families across the area. Local residents were invite to share their favourite children’s book in class and online, with over 1,700 submissions received from entrants aged three to 78.
The list provides the perfect inspiration for book gifting, with five age categories ranging from birth to young adult (recommended reading age 13+). The books have been ordered by recommended reading age, but this is only intended to be used as a guide - children are encouraged to try any book they feel comfortable reading.
Some of the most popular submissions were Liz Pichon, Stephen King and Michael Morpurgo, with a lot of non-fiction titles covering animal and world facts also ranking highly.
Families can find the 100 Reads list in libraries across the area, as well as finding a printable version online at ourstories.org.uk. Library opening times can be found at northyorks.gov.uk/libraries.
Families can also take part in our Christmas book giveaway and access a range of free, fun and festive reading and writing activities everyone can enjoy. The book giveaway closes on 13 December.
Liz Dyer, Our Stories Manager, said: “Books have the power to transform children’s reading skills, enjoyment and mental wellbeing. There are so many children in Whitby, Scarborough and Filey missing out on the chance to reach their full potential because they don’t have a book of their own at home. We’re really proud to be taking steps to get books into the hands of children who need them most, but it’s really important that we keep working to close the gap for good.”
Residents on the North Yorkshire Coast can help Our Stories give the gift of reading to disadvantaged children this Christmas by:
- Texting 'GIFTOFREADING 7' to 70490 to donate £7 (this costs £7 + a standard message rate)
- Ordering Christmas cards designed by children, judged by children’s author and illustrator Nick Sharratt. The winning designs are available for the public to buy as printed cards or ecards from: literacytrust.org.uk/giftofreading