Meadowhall is launching a community initiative on World Book Day to increase access to reading for disadvantaged Sheffield school children.
The Centre is calling upon members of the public to donate pre-loved or unwanted children’s books at special collection points in-centre on March 1st-5th. Donated books will be re-distributed to three local schools with the aim of improving access to literacy to children from disadvantaged backgrounds.
The call comes after research from The National Literacy Trust revealed that 1 in 8 disadvantaged children don’t have a book of their own at home.
The report also revealed that children who have access to a book are 15 times more likely to read above the level expected for their age than peers who say they don’t own a book.
Children born into communities with serious literacy challenges are more likely to do worse in school, be less financially well-off and have poorer health – with life expectancy significantly lower than in areas with a higher incidence of literacy.
With parts of Sheffield among the most illiterate in the country, Meadowhall wanted to ensure that as many children as possible in the city had access to reading materials to not only boost skill development, but life outcomes too.
Centre Director Darren Pearce said: “We know there are families within the communities surrounding Meadowhall where some children don’t even own a book at home.
“Reading has been proven to improve outcomes for young people – with high literacy linked to better job prospects later in life, a richer vocabulary, well developed empathy and ‘people skills’.
“We’d like to encourage people to donate their unwanted children’s books this World Book Day so we can improve the literacy skills – and lives – of as many local children as possible.”
Special collection points will be set up in both of Meadowhall’s Waterstone’s stores on Park Lane and The Arcade from Thursday 1stMarch to Monday 5th March.
Donated books will be re-distributed to children at schools which are part of Meadowhall’s Young Readers Programme in partnership with The National Literacy Trust.