02 March 2023

Celebrating World Book Day 2023

Reading for pleasure is the single biggest indicator of a child's future success - more than their family circumstances, their parents educational background or their income

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World Book Day offers us an important moment to come together and inspire children with the wonder of books and their power to change lives. At Chapter One, we’re only too aware that reading for pleasure is the single biggest indicator of a child’s future success – more than their family circumstances, their parents’ educational background or their income (see World Book Day - the Evidence).

Week in, week out, our 2,000 corporate volunteers are spearheading a ‘reading for pleasure’ movement. Their infectious enthusiasm for stories, and their commitment to helping 5- 7-year-old children practise their reading skills is raising the levels of well-being and aspiration for the next generation. By developing fundamental reading skills and inspiring a love for reading from an early age, they are helping to build confidence in children who might otherwise slip through the cracks.

The cracks are widening.

The National Literacy Trust’s annual survey shows the number of children saying they enjoy reading is in real decline, with reading for pleasure at its lowest level for 18 years. The survey found that fewer than one in two children aged eight to 18 said they enjoyed reading in 2022, the lowest level since 2005. For children growing up in poverty, this number is even lower, with fewer children and young people who receive Free School Meals (FSMs) saying they enjoyed reading compared with their peers who do not receive FSMs (43.8% vs. 48.8%). The percentage-point-gap between these groups has more than doubled from 2.1pp to 5pp between 2020 and 2022.

With its squeeze on family budgets, the cost-of-living crisis is also creating further barriers to reading for pleasure. A total of 500,000 (one in 15) children in England aged eight to 18 say they do not own a single book, which rises to one in 10 for those eligible for Free School Meals, according to the NLT.

Chapter One supports primary schools in areas of disadvantage across the UK, including the government’s Education Investment Areas. All of our schools have over 23% of children on Free School Meals and many have a high proportion of children with English as an Additional Language. Our online reading volunteers programme is now running in schools in Bradford, Doncaster, East Sussex, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, London, Middlesbrough, Peterborough and West Cumbria. And we are planning to launch in Manchester from September 2023. Our volunteers can be located anywhere in the UK, reading with children in one of these locations.

By partnering with Chapter One, corporations and foundations are able to amplify their impact and have the opportunity to make a measurable difference on children’s lives, both locally and nationally.

Do get in touch if you’d like to find out more. You’ll find out who we currently work with on our partners’ page. You can contact us by emailing sarah.taylor@chapterone.org.

Week in, week out, our 2,000 corporate volunteers are spearheading a ‘reading for pleasure’ movement.

Did you know?

Chapter One has created an online collection of stories and materials that celebrate the world’s diversity. The Global Free Library has content for children in nursery through to Year 3 and has been designed to be a safe place for children to explore.