We partner with Chase in new initiative to boost primary school literacy

13 Dec 2021
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We have partnered with recently launched digital bank Chase and jointly, today, unveiled a major investment in children’s literacy in the UK in the form of an initial £1 million commitment to improve library and reading spaces in primary schools.

The literacy-focused programme, supported by Penguin Random House UK, will transform 150 primary school libraries and improve access to books and reading materials, reaching approximately 35,000 children in disadvantaged communities across seven key areas: Dundee, Doncaster, Newport, Suffolk, London, Nottingham, and Birmingham.

The programme aims to inspire a love of reading, improve literacy skills and help young people reach their potential, by focusing on driving change both in schools and at home, empowering families, carers, and teachers with the tools and resources needed to inspire children to read, including:

  • Providing approx. 35,000 primary school children in disadvantaged areas with designated library space, books donated by Penguin Random House UK and e-readers
  • Supporting 21,000 families and carers with guidance and advice on how to support their child with reading (in multiple languages where appropriate), special community and school literacy events, author readings, and access to their local libraries
  • Supporting 150 primary school teachers with bespoke training to equip them with strategies to create a culture of reading for pleasure in their school community, expand their knowledge of children’s literature, and offer tools to transform their reading spaces into hubs of imagination and creativity

The programme builds on a tried-and-tested model pioneered by our partnership with Penguin Random House UK, Puffin World of Stories, which addresses the key issues facing many disadvantaged primary school libraries including lack of time and skills and lack of budget to buy new books.

Our recent Primary School Libraries Review research found that 1 in 4 schools in England’s most disadvantaged communities do not have a library or designated reading space, compared to a national average of 1 in 8 schools. School libraries have a proven positive impact on all areas of primary pupils’ learning, including the development of reading and writing skills, while not being able to access a school library or a lack of quiet space at home can have a negative impact on a pupil’s ability and motivation to read.

In addition, developing early stage reading skills and a love of reading has a proven positive impact on a young person’s future employability, increasing their chance of success later in life. Recent studies have shown for children under 11 that two in five don’t enjoy reading and three in five don’t read regularly. It is estimated that the UK could see a £4.6 billion boost to GDP per year, within a generation, if all children read for pleasure more.

“We’re delighted to be partnering with the National Literacy Trust and Penguin Random House UK to provide thousands of children with access to the resources, environment, and support they need to develop their literacy skills... Developing early stage reading skills and discovering a love of reading can shape a child’s life, unlocking their potential, and helping to improve their future prospects. Building on JPMorgan Chase’s decades-long support for local communities in the UK, we’re excited about playing a role in supporting primary schools at a time when they need it most.”

Sanoke Viswanathan, CEO of Chase in the UK.

“At the National Literacy Trust, we know that having access to books and reading for pleasure in childhood plays a vital role in a child’s well-being, how well they perform in school and their future employability. We are thrilled to be partnering with Chase on this transformative initiative delivering exciting reading spaces, resources and training in primary schools up and down the country - supporting children to develop a love of reading for years to come.”

Jonathan Douglas CBE, Chief Executive of the National Literacy Trust

“For many years we’ve worked in partnership with the National Literacy Trust to give primary schools the support they need to share the magic of reading with their pupils through our Puffin World of Stories programme. We’ve seen the transformative impact this can have on the ground. We now need the private, charity and public sector to come together to address the chronic lack of investment in primary school libraries at national level, and that’s why we’re so delighted that this investment from Chase will help to scale this vital and urgent work.”

Siena Parker, Social Impact Director at Penguin Random House UK

As part of this commitment, Chase will also join the Primary School Library Alliance in its pledge to transform 1,000 school libraries and support 500,000 pupils’ attainment and wellbeing.