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News story

Help us support the 383,775 children who don’t have a book this Christmas

04 Dec 2019


We published new research today which revealed that 383,775 children in the UK don’t have a single book of their own.

Our survey of 56,906 UK children found that, compared to children who don’t have a book of their own, children who own books are:

  • Six times more likely to read above the level expected for their age
  • Nearly three times more likely to enjoy reading
  • More than twice as likely to agree that reading is cool

Further analysis found that, while disadvantaged children are still more likely than their peers to not own a book, this gap has halved in the past six years.

In the past six years, we have gifted more than 340,000 books to children and young people who need them most.

Despite this progress, we still have a way to go, and we want to close this gap once and for all. We’re calling on the public to give the Gift of Reading this Christmas.

What can the public do to help?

Text 'GIFTOFREADING 7' to 70490 to donate £7 (this costs £7 + a standard message rate)

Order Christmas cards designed by children who are supported by the charity’s work in Stoke-on-Trent. 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 our website.

Christmas books and resources

Win books by entering our Christmas book giveaway and access a range of free, fun and festive reading and writing activities for the whole family to enjoy on Words for Life.

For top gifting recommendations, check out our Ultimate Christmas book list - an advent calendar of children’s books chosen by 24 leading authors and illustrators who have each recommended a book that they personally love and wish a child could unwrap this Christmas.

The list includes:

  • The Boy at the Back of the Class by Onjali Q. Raúf; recommended by Children’s Laureate Cressida Cowell
  • Some Dogs Do by Jez Alborough; recommended by Nadiya Hussain
  • Fantastic Mr Fox by Roald Dahl; recommended by Dermot O’Leary

One book a day from the list will be shared on our social media channels (Twitter, Facebook and Instagram) throughout advent.

“Far too many children are missing out on the chance to reach their full potential simply because they don’t have a book of their own at home. By donating to the National Literacy Trust this Christmas, you can help us give a disadvantaged child their very first book.”

Our Chief Executive, Jonathan Douglas

See full research here

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