Nearly 2,000 Puffin and Ladybird books were given away to families for free at intu Metrocentre in Gateshead on Tuesday 24 October as part of the Read North East campaign.
Local children also had the chance to meet Entertainment One’s Peppa Pig and enjoyed storytelling with local artists Chris Callaghan and Chris Bostock.
The event was the first in a series of book giveaways that will take place across the region over the next year to inspire children to fall in love with reading. The books are being donated by Read North East partner Penguin Random House Children’s, home to Puffin and Ladybird.
Read North East is a campaign from the North East Literacy Forum, led by the National Literacy Trust. It encourages parents to talk and read to their babies and children every day to support their literacy skills and give them the best start in life.
A programme of Read North East activities will help to raise the region’s literacy levels, which are among the lowest in the country. Data analysis by the National Literacy Trust and Experian found that 60% of wards in the North East are at risk of serious literacy problems, making it the second most vulnerable region to literacy issues in the country.
The campaign will reach families all across the region, with events and initiatives taking place in different towns and cities over the next year. In 2017, children will also have the opportunity to get involved at events including:
- 2 November: Bookworm Babies session at Seven Stories in Newcastle
- 5 November: Read North East book giveaway at the Middlesbrough vs Sunderland match at the Riverside Stadium
- 18 November: Northern Children’s Book Festival Gala Day at The Word, National Centre for the Written Word in South Shields
- 30 November: Read North East book giveaway at the Stockton Sparkles Christmas lights switch-on event
- 30 and 31 December: Around the World New Year’s Eve Party for under-fives at Seven Stories in Newcastle
Star of Gogglebox and Queen of the I’m a Celebrity…Get me Out of Here! jungle, Scarlett Moffatt is supporting Read North East. She said:
“I’m delighted to be supporting the Read North East campaign from the National Literacy Trust and the North East Literacy Forum. Growing up I always loved story time and I want other children across the region to discover how fun reading can be!”
Director of the National Literacy Trust Jonathan Douglas said:
“We were delighted to kick off our Read North East book giveaway bonanza at intu Metrocentre this week. Thanks to the generosity of our partner Penguin Random House, we were able to put brand new books in the hands of over 1,000 children across the region, which we know can have a huge impact on how much they enjoy reading.
“Reading for just 10 minutes a day is enough to make a difference to children’s literacy skills – with the help of Peppa Pig, we’re looking forward to showing families how fun this time can be!”
Francesca Dow, Managing Director of Penguin Random House Children’s, said:
“We want every child to have the opportunity to experience the magical world of stories. As a proud partner of Read North East we were delighted to give away books for local families to take home and enjoy reading together.”
The next Read North East giveaway is due to take place on 30 November at the Stockton Sparkles Christmas lights switch on.