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Mass book gifting in Stoke for World Book Day®

18 Mar 2024

World Book Day 2024 - 11

Mass book gifting in Stoke-on-Trent libraries proved success as part of mission to break down barriers around reading.

This World Book Day®, we worked in partnership with World Book Day, the charity, to deliver around 2,000 copies of the £1 World Book Day books directly to the children of Stoke-on-Trent, in schools and community organisations across the city. With research showing that children’s reading for enjoyment levels are at their lowest in almost two decades, and over half of children not reading for fun in their free time, World Book Day’s annual celebration is an important moment to inspire children to read for pleasure and provide more children with a chance to benefit from the improved life chances that reading for pleasure brings.

On Saturday 9 March, the National Literacy Trust in Stoke welcomed families to Libraries Out Loud, a day full of storytelling hosted at four of the city’s libraries to engage children with reading. In partnership with Stoke-on-Trent Libraries, four storytellers brought the magic of books to City Central Library, Tunstall Library, Stoke Library, and Bentilee Library, featuring a line-up of poets, actors and theatre-makers.

Families were treated to performances by Dommy B, Alan Barrett, Pyn Stockman, and Sophia Hatfield who brought stories to life through exciting and interactive sessions. Each performance was followed by a creative workshop delivered by the Family Hubs, and every child who attended took home a free book of their choice to enjoy. The campaign focused on encouraging families from all backgrounds to join in with these accessible, fun and free events so that no child in the city is left out of the celebrations.

The National Literacy Trust and World Book Day worked together to deliver over 18,000 free copies of the £1 World Book Day books directly to children in some of the most disadvantaged communities across the UK. The charities work with schools, foodbanks, libraries, football clubs and other local community organisations to deliver not just books, but also exciting World Book Day activities to families who may be struggling with literacy or who are facing barriers in accessing books and resources to support reading for pleasure.

Having a book of their own at home and celebrating reading with those around them can increase a child’s enjoyment of reading and their reading frequency, which in turn unlocks vital literacy skills that can help them thrive and develop a lifelong habit of reading for pleasure. Literacy skills are essential and can give a child the power to shape their own future – from more access to job opportunities, to supporting mental wellbeing, confidence and self-esteem, and ensuring that if they become parents themselves, they can support their own child’s learning. In the West Midlands, around 1 in 15 (6.8%) 8–18-year-olds say they don’t have a book of their own at home; the picture is worse for 5–8-year-olds with just under 1 in 5 (19.7%) children saying they are without a book of their own – equating to six children in every classroom across the county. That’s why it’s more important than ever to get books into the hands of children who need them.

“Watching children’s faces light up from the joy of stories is my favourite part of World Book Day. We know that reading for pleasure is important not only for spreading joy, but also for supporting children’s engagement with literacy. These vital skills open the door to knowledge, confidence and inspiration, crucial for better results at school and better jobs. By bringing vibrant storytellers and activities directly to our communities through the library service, we hope to excite families with the possibilities of reading and encourage lifelong habits – because we believe literacy changes everything.”

Lois Bateman, Manager for National Literacy Trust in Stoke-on-Trent
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