New research published today by the National Literacy Trust revealed that 27,878 children in Manchester don’t have a single book of their own.

Read Manchester, run by the National Literacy Trust in partnership with Manchester City Council, warns that these children are missing out on the vital benefits of book ownership for their reading skills, enjoyment and mental wellbeing.

The National Literacy Trust’s surveyed 56,906 UK children and young people aged 9-18 and found that, compared to children who don’t have a book of the own, children who own books are six times more likely to read above the level expected for their age and nearly three times more likely to enjoy reading.

This builds on previous research from the charity which found that children who own books are also more likely to have higher levels of mental wellbeing than their peers who don’t own books.

In the past year, Read Manchester has gifted more than 17,000 brand new books to children and young people in the city. Read Manchester wants to help close the gap in book ownership once and for all and is calling on the public to give the gift of reading this Christmas.

For those wanting to gift a book to a child in their life this Christmas, the National Literacy Trust has published its Ultimate Christmas book list – an advent calendar of children’s books chosen by 24 leading authors and illustrators who have each recommended a book that they personally love and wish a child could unwrap this Christmas. The list includes recommendations from Children’s Laureate Cressida Cowell, Nadiya Hussain and Dermot O’Leary.

One book a day from the list will be shared on the charity’s social media channels (Twitter,Facebook and Instagram) throughout advent. The book list can be found on families can also take part in the charity’sChristmas book giveaway and access a range of free, fun and festive reading and writing activities everyone can enjoy. The book giveaway closes on 13 December.

Read Manchester Manager, Margaret Duff, said: “Books have the power to transform children’s reading skills, enjoyment and mental wellbeing. There are so many children in the city of Manchester missing out on the chance to reach their full potential because they don’t have a book of their own at home. We’re really proud to be taking steps to get books into the hands of children who need them most, but it’s really important that we keep working to close the gap for good.”

 Residents in Manchester can help the Read Manchester campaign give the gift of reading to disadvantaged children in the city this Christmas by:

·         Texting ‘GIFTOFREADING 7’ to 70490 to donate £7 (this costs £7 + a standard message rate)

·         Ordering Christmas cards designed by children, judged by children’s author and illustrator Nick Sharratt. The winning designs are available for the public to buy as printed cards or ecards


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