1 in 8 of the most disadvantaged children say they don’t have a book of their own at home, according to new research published today by the National Literacy Trust to launch its Christmas Stories campaign 

 Further analysis by the charity partner in the Read Manchester campaign revealed that a staggering 40,367 school children in Greater Manchester, aged 8-18, don’t own a single book.Of these children, those who receive free school meals, boys of all ages and teenagers are the most likely to say they have no books of their own at home .

The research report, Book ownership and reading outcomes, found that children who say they don’t own a single book have much poorer educational outcomes than their book owning peers. Children who say they own a book are 15 times more likely to read above the level expected for their age than their peers who don’t own a book (28.8% vs 1.9%) and are four times less likely to read below the expected level (12.9% vs 48.1%).

The report marks the launch of the charity’s Christmas Stories campaign, which aims to give some of the UK’s most disadvantaged children their very first book this Christmas.

 Best-selling author and illustrator, Cressida Cowell, is leading the Christmas Stories campaign. The National Literacy Trust Ambassador said:

“Opening a new book for the very first time still fills me with the same excitement and anticipation that it did as a child. Not only do books enable children to discover new worlds, meet new people and learn about the past, but they also have the power to transform lives. By sparking imaginations, stimulating critical thinking, and helping develop empathy, reading gives children the very literacy skills they need to succeed at school, at work and in life.

 “Yet far too many children from some of the poorest families in the UK are missing out on the chance to reach their potential for one simple reason – they don’t have a single book of their own at home. Just one book can make a huge difference. By joining me in supporting the National Literacy Trust’s Christmas Stories campaign, you can help a disadvantaged child unwrap their very first book this Christmas.”

Read Manchester is a campaign from the National Literacy Trust and Manchester City Council to promote reading and boost literacy throughout the city. In summer 2017, BookBenches decorated with literary designs painted by local schools and community groups popped up across the city, highlighting the city’s love of reading.

Jonathan Douglas, Director of the National Literacy Trust, said:

“Books have the power to transform children’s lives, which is why it is so alarming to discover that more than 40,000 children in Greater Manchester don’t have a single book to call their own. Getting books in to the hands of children and helping them discover a love of reading is at the very heart of our Read Manchester campaign. By donating to the National Literacy Trust this Christmas, you could help give a disadvantaged child their first ever book and set them on the path to a brighter future.”

 For more information about the National Literacy Trust’s Christmas Stories campaign, visit: literacytrust.org.uk/christmas-stories  

For more information about Read Manchester, visit: readmanchester.org.uk

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