The Young Readers Programme motivates children and young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to read for enjoyment. Children take part in a series of fun literacy-focused events which help them acquire the skills and knowledge they need to develop their own identities as readers. The children taking part in the project are able to choose free books of their own to keep at three events throughout the year, helping to sustain their positive experiences of books and reading. As Middlesbrough is a National Literacy Trust Hub, ten schools have been able to participate in the Programme, as a result of national funding being secured through British Land, Laing and WHSmiths, since 2014.
In July 2019, 240 pupils attended a celebration event at MFC and attended book readings by authors including Cathy Cassidy and Gabrielle Kent. Children’s survey responses indicated that those who started the project with the lowest levels of reading enjoyment showed particularly positive reading outcomes. Teachers reported that participation in the programme had a positive impact on reading attainment and on reading enjoyment.
“Before taking part in the Young Readers Programme there was an apathy towards reading and books in my class. Now there’s a real buzz!” Year 5 teacher.