Puffin World of Stories ambassador Jacqueline Wilson: “Reading for pleasure is the most important gift you can give children. In our schools we teach children to read, but we also need to bring to life the joy of books.”
Puffin, part of the UK’s number one publisher, Penguin Random House, is partnering with the National Literacy Trust to launch a new programme that aims to inspire 13,000 primary school children across the UK to read for pleasure.
The pilot programme, Puffin World of Stories, will equip 50 primary schools with the books, materials, training and resources they need to champion reading for pleasure across the whole school and reinvigorate their school libraries or reading spaces to become vibrant hubs for creativity for pupils.
Reading for enjoyment is vital to academic success. Research by the National Literacy Trust shows that 10-year-olds who enjoy reading have a reading age 1.3 years higher than their peers who do not enjoy reading and, by the age of 14, this gap increases to 3.3 years. School libraries and reading spaces play a vital role in helping pupils develop an enjoyment of reading but a recent survey found that 53% of teachers say they don’t have a library in their school.
To address this challenge, the free Puffin World of Stories pilot will help schools breathe new life into their existing libraries, reading spaces and book collections. Over the course of the academic year, each school will receive:
• 500 free Puffin books, including favourites from Jacqueline Wilson and Roald Dahl together with new voices including Robin Stevens, Nadia Shireen and Nick Mohammed
• Exciting resources to encourage reading for pleasure across the whole school
• Colourful materials, including bookmarks and posters, to bring the magic of reading to life
• National Literacy Trust membership and library coordinator training
Each participating school has a high percentage of pupils receiving free school meals (an indicator of disadvantage) and are based in three geographic clusters: Middlesbrough and South Shields, which has some of the lowest literacy levels in the country, as well as Tendring in Essex and South London where Penguin Random House has offices.
Over the academic year, Puffin and the National Literacy Trust will work with schools to measure the impact of the pilot in order to better understand and adapt to the challenges schools and children face, with a view to rolling out the programme more widely in the future.
Puffin World of Stories is one pillar of a broader partnership between Penguin Random House UK and the National Literacy Trust, which was announced earlier this year, to support both organisations’ commitment to tackling urgent social mobility issues in the UK.
Speaking about the pilot programme, Francesca Dow, Managing Director of Penguin Random House Children’s, said: “At a time when so many schools are struggling to find the money and the time to invest in reading for pleasure and their school libraries, we hope Puffin World of Stories can play its part in making a difference. We want to help schools create a magical world of stories which puts fun and joy at the heart of books; enabling children around the country to travel, explore and discover for themselves a whole world of exciting ideas and possibilities and maybe even become readers for life.”
Jonathan Douglas, Director of the National Literacy Trust, added: “Puffin World of Stories is a fantastic opportunity to help thousands of children discover the joys of reading by making their school libraries and reading spaces fun, exciting and inspiring places to go. Children who enjoy reading are more likely to succeed at school and later in life, so we must continue to do everything we can to help children fall in love with reading for a lifetime.”
Jacqueline Wilson, Penguin Random House Children’s author and ambassador for Puffin World of Stories, said: “Reading for pleasure is the most important gift you can give children. In our schools we teach children to read, but we also need to bring to life the joy of books. Books are not just for learning grammar or comprehension, they are stories to delight and engage.”
Kaye Seebacher, Federation Literacy Lead, Valley View Primary School in Jarrow said: “We are participating in Puffin World of Stories because we understand how important it is to allow our children to have access to a range of exciting literature and to ensure our school environment reflects this. Our children will have a vast selection of new books and their library space will be a great place to visit. Having the expertise to utilise the space effectively will be invaluable to us as a school.”
To find out more about Puffin World of Stories, or to express your interest in taking part in future programmes, please visit: literacytrust.org.uk/puffin-world-of-stories