Reading project in schools aims to foster lifelong love of books

File picture of a reading child

File picture of a reading child

A reading project aims to help children become lifelong readers.

The Oxfordshire Raise a Reader Programme, launched by Oxford University Press and the National Literacy Trust, is a three-year mission in the wake of the pandemic to encourage reading in all schools.

It will work with 10 schools in its first year with the aim of nurturing a generation of readers in the county’s most disadvantaged and underserved communities.

The campaign will work with booksellers, local communities, parents, librarians, literacy partners and reading professionals.

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The schools will each receive a donation of 500 books – 300 from OUP and 200 from independent publishers – as well as a range of upholstered furniture and book storage to create their own reading areas.

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They also have access to in-person specialist training to develop school-wide reading strategies, a subscription to Oxford Reading Buddy, a digital reading service for nearly 500 books, and the opportunity to host exciting author visits.

As part of the launch, Oxford University Press has released new research showing more than a quarter of children would like their parents to read with them more often.

And 84 percent of parents and carers also say they enjoy reading with their children.

Regular, shorter reading sessions can be beneficial, and most teachers preferred that parents read with their children at least 5-10 minutes a day, four or five days a week.

Helen Freeman, Raise a Reader Project Manager, said: “We are proud to be working with the NLT to provide dedicated reading rooms across schools in Oxfordshire’s most disadvantaged and underserved communities.

“Other exciting plans include bringing our superbly equipped Raise a Reader motorhome to communities across England, distributing free books, sharing resources, organizing author events and having OUP reading experts on hand to help provide tips, how to raise a reader for life.

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“As our research to date shows, cultivating a love of reading at home, an activity that can be enjoyed by parents and children alike, will be a fundamental and powerful tool in bridging the learning gap created by the pandemic.”

OUP takes Raise a Reader on tour in November, visiting 10 less literate locations across England.

Oxford writers and illustrators will join at each stop, including Winnie & Wilbur illustrator Korky Paul, the couple who created The Perfect Fit, Naomi and James Jones; and Paul Westmoreland, author of Rudy and the Wolf Cub, OUP’s big early fall debut.

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