Today, the National Literacy Trust and Libraries Connected release a new report that examines the role of libraries in raising the literacy skills of children whose learning has been disrupted by the pandemic. The report has been funded by supported using public funding by Arts Council England and is supported with forewords from Robin Walker MP, Minister of State for School Standards, and Lord Parkinson Minister for Arts.
The report highlights evidence that, despite the huge achievements of teachers and librarians in supporting pupils through periods of school closures, the pandemic has exacerbated the literacy gap between children from disadvantaged backgrounds and their peers.
Libraries are uniquely placed to help narrow this gap, the report concludes, by giving free access to books, fostering a strong home learning environment, and inspiring children to be readers. Libraries are also experts at reaching disadvantaged communities where literacy is lowest and can support the social elements of literacy through reading clubs, holiday activities, and early years “rhyme times”.
The report, calls for long-term partnerships between libraries, schools, and early years providers to ensure these challenges do not persist across generations.
Alongside the report, the National Literacy Trust have produced resources for libraries to give further information about what they can do. You can find the report and resources here.