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News story

1 in 8 disadvantaged children in the North East don’t own a single book

22 Dec 2017

1 in 8 of the most disadvantaged children in the North East say they don’t have a book of their own at home, according to our new research.

We looked at 29,674 school children across the region, aged 8-18, don’t own a book. Of these children, those who receive free school meals, boys of all ages and teenagers are the most likely to say they have no books of their own at home.

The research report, Book ownership and reading outcomes, found that children who say they don’t own a single book have much poorer educational outcomes than their book owning peers. Children who say they own a book are 15 times more likely to read above the level expected for their age than their peers who don’t own a book (28.8% vs 1.9%) and are four times less likely to read below the expected level (12.9% vs 48.1%).

intu Metrocentre DaniThe National Literacy Trust leads the Read North East campaign, in partnership with the North East Literacy Forum. The campaign encourages parents to talk and read to their babies and children every day to support their literacy skills and give them the best start in life.

Since launching to the public in October 2017, over 3,000 books have been given away to families at intu Metrocentre, the Riverside Stadium and Stockton Sparkles, which we generously donated by campaign partner Penguin Random House. In 2018, more books will be gifted to the children and families who need them the most.

Jonathan Douglas, Director of the National Literacy Trust, said:
“Books have the power to transform children’s lives, which is why it is so alarming to discover that almost 30,000 children in the North East don’t have a single book to call their own. Getting books in to the hands of children and helping them discover a love of reading is at the very heart of our Read North East campaign. Working with our brilliant partners in the region, we are looking forward to gifting more children their first ever book and setting them on the path to a brighter future.”

The report was released to launch the charity’s Christmas Stories campaign, which aims to give some of the UK’s most disadvantaged children their very first book this Christmas.

Find out more about Read North East.

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