This summer, families with young children (aged 0-5) in the North East are being given free access to a series of simple, fun and engaging literacy activities that will help give their children the best start in life, thanks to Hungry Little Minds and the National Literacy Trust’s Read North East campaign.

The North East is home to some of the most serious literacy problems in the country1 and, last year, 1 in 4 (27%) five-year-olds in the region started primary school without the literacy skills they need to learn and flourish, rising to 4 in 10 (40%) disadvantaged children2.

To better equip local children with the literacy skills they need for starting school, Read North East has joined forces with the Department for Education’s Hungry Little Minds campaign to encourage families to chat, play and read together throughout the summer.

A summer of chat, play, read includes exciting activities that, when done at home, can have a positive impact on children’s early literacy skills; including storytelling videos with leading children’s authors, tips to help children express their emotions, school readiness activities and milestone indicators.

Starting with Chatting chums, activities are being released on the Read North East website every Monday for the next three weeks. Additional activities and tips for caregivers will also be shared on the Read North East Facebook page throughout the summer and beyond.

Anne Goodall, Hungry Little Minds Community Organiser, said: “These summer activities are all about showing parents that helping their child learn doesn’t have to take lots of time or money. Activities that they already do together can be used to make a difference – whether it’s introducing new words while out and about, chatting about the pictures in books or scribbling and mark-making which are the building blocks for writing.”

James Kingett, Programme Manager for Read North East, said: “This partnership could make a really positive difference for young children in the North East as the first five years of a child’s life are formative. Children who start school with poor literacy skills will struggle to catch-up later on and having access to advice and support, as well as things like free books and resources, from an early age can make all the difference.”

Visit the Read North East website [] or Facebook page for more details.


Media contacts


For further information or to request a spokesperson interview, please contact Hannah Riley, Campaigns Officer at the National Literacy Trust on or 07714 389 440 (out of hours).

Notes to editors


1 National Literacy Trust and Experian (2017) Mapping literacy need across England


2 Department for Education (2019) Early years foundation stage profile results: 2018 to 2019


About Hungry Little Minds

In 2019, the Department for Education (DfE) launched Hungry Little Minds, a national campaign designed to improve the early communication, language and literacy skills of children under five by helping parents turn the everyday activities they are already doing with their child into new opportunities to fill their child’s world with words.

The Hungry Little Minds campaign is a key part of the Government’s broader ambition to halve the proportion of five-year-olds starting school without the literacy, language and communication skills they need to learn and flourish by 2028.

The DfE is funding the National Literacy Trust to work with local partners in six areas – The Wirral; North Yorkshire Coast; Middlesbrough; Newcastle; Croydon and Cornwall – to bring the Hungry Little Minds campaign to life in local communities.

About Read North East

Read North East is a campaign to raise children’s literacy levels in the North East. The campaign focuses on encouraging parents to talk and read to their babies and children, strengthening the culture of reading across the region, and engaging businesses to play an important role in addressing the literacy challenge.

Read North East is led by the National Literacy Trust in partnership with the North East Literacy Forum, which comprises: ASCEL, Education Endowment Foundation, New Writing North, Northern Children’s Book Festival, Seven Stories, The Society of Chief Librarians and SCHOOLS NorthEast.

About the National Literacy Trust

Our charity is dedicated to improving the reading, writing, speaking and listening skills of those who need it most, giving them the best possible chance of success in school, work and life. We run Literacy Hubs and campaigns in communities where low levels of literacy and social mobility are seriously impacting people’s lives. We support schools and early years settings to deliver outstanding literacy provision, and we campaign to make literacy a priority for politicians, businesses and parents. Our research and analysis make us the leading authority on literacy and drive our interventions. Literacy is a vital element of action against poverty and our work changes children’s life stories.

Visit to find out more, donate or sign up for our free email newsletter. You can also find us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

The National Literacy Trust is a registered charity no. 1116260 and a company limited by guarantee no. 5836486 registered in England and Wales and a registered charity in Scotland no. SC042944.  Registered address: 68 South Lambeth Road, London SW8 1RL.