ACE joins Random House to support more school libraries

Arts Council England has gone into partnership with the publisher Random House in a £2m upgrade of the scheme to transform primary school libraries.

“Books offer inspiration, escape, and the ability to step into someone else’s shoes” said Siena Parker, Random House’s social impact director. “Research has shown that children who read for pleasure have better life chances in the future, get better grades, and report higher levels of wellbeing.

“Yet so many children are missing out on the joy of reading because our schools simply don’t have the resources they need. To help address this critical issue we are delighted to increase our own investment.”

The statistics are that one in four schools in disadvantaged communities do not have a library or dedicated reading space, despite the positive impact that reading for pleasure is known to have on children’s learning, wellbeing and academic attainment.  World of Stories provides schools with a selected range of books, bespoke online and face-to-face training from the National Literacy Trust, access to a library of free audiobooks, and support to build links with local public libraries and school library services.

The new investment will run until 2024 reaching 125,000 children in 500 primary schools in the Black Country, East London, Blackpool, Essex, Swindon, and Redcar and Cleveland, all recently designated as priority places by ACE where it wants to develop new opportunities for investment.

“Over the last four years that we have been delivering the World of Stories programme with Penguin Random House we have seen a huge impact on both children and teachers” said the National Literacy Trust’s CEO Jonathan Douglas. “We are extremely excited to be able to expand its reach to even more schools in areas of the country where children have been so disproportionately affected by the pandemic.”

The next phase of the programme will run from January 2022, with more information is available here. The seven independent publishers joining the programme are B Small, Barrington Stoke, Scallywag Press, Emma Press, Knights Of, Lantana, and Sweet Cherry.

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