We launched the Read North East campaign to the public this week with an exciting event at intu Metrocentre in Gateshead.
Nearly 2,000 books were given out to children at the shopping centre on Tuesday 24 October along with activity sheets and family reading tips. The books were donated by Read North East partner Penguin Random House Children’s, home to Puffin and Ladybird. Children also had the chance to meet Peppa Pig and enjoyed storytelling activities throughout the day.
Read North East is a campaign from the North East Literacy Forum, which we lead. It 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.
The book giveaway event was part of a programme of Read North East activities to help raise the region’s literacy levels, which are among the lowest in the country. Our data analysis with Experian found that 60% of wards in the North East are at risk of serious literacy problems, making it the second most vulnerable region to literacy issues in the country.
The campaign will reach families all across the region, with events and initiatives taking place in different towns and cities over the next year. In 2017, children will also have the opportunity to get involved at events including:
- 2 November: Bookworm Babies session at Seven Stories in Newcastle
- 18 November: Northern Children’s Book Festival Gala Day at The Word, National Centre for the Written Word in South Shields
- 30 November: Read North East book giveaway at the Stockton Sparkles Christmas lights switch-on event
- 30 and 31 December: Around the World New Year’s Eve Party for under-fives at Seven Stories in Newcastle
“I’m delighted to be supporting the Read North East campaign from the National Literacy Trust and the North East Literacy Forum. Growing up I always loved story time and I want other children across the region to discover how fun reading can be! Don’t miss the first Read North East family event at intu Metrocentre, where children can pick up a free book and enjoy fun activities!”
Director of the National Literacy Trust Jonathan Douglas said:
“We are thrilled to be launching our Read North East book giveaway bonanza in Gateshead during the half term holidays. Thanks to the generosity of our partner Penguin Random House, we are putting brand new books in the hands of thousands of children across the region, which we know can have a huge impact on how much they enjoy reading.
“Reading for just 10 minutes a day is enough to make a difference to children’s literacy skills – with the help of Peppa Pig, we’re looking forward to showing families how fun this time can be!”
Francesca Dow, Managing Director of Penguin Random House Children’s, said:
“We want every child to have the opportunity to experience the magical world of stories. As a proud partner of Read North East we’re delighted to give away books for local families to take home and enjoy reading together.”