Free book gifting scheme for disadvantaged pupils launches

Katy Morton
Wednesday, February 23, 2022

A total of 30,000 free books are to be given to disadvantaged children across the UK to tackle the ‘literacy gap’.

More than 30,000 books are available to give to schools to distribute to children living in poverty, PHOTO Adobe Stock
More than 30,000 books are available to give to schools to distribute to children living in poverty, PHOTO Adobe Stock

Schools are being encouraged to sign up to literacy charity UK Reads free book scheme, which will provide 30,000 books to children living in disadvantaged communities who don’t have access to their own books.

UK Reads has partnered with Awesome Books – an ethical online book shop which sells new and used books, to deliver the scheme, which aims to inspire a love of reading in children that don’t have books of their own at home.

Driven by a commitment to sustainability and literacy, Awesome Books collects books destined for landfill and repurposes high-quality copies by reselling them or donating them to improve access to books.

According to the National Literacy Trust, more than 413,000 children in the UK don’t own a single book.

Over the past year Awesome Books has been working with UK Reads to donate more than 14,000 books for disadvantaged communities, and have now extended this partnership to pledge 30,000 high quality, pre-loved books to be distributed amongst disadvantaged pupils in 2022.

Any school in the UK can request free books from UK Reads, who will send high-quality pre-loved books, courtesy of Awesome Books, to be distributed among disadvantaged pupils.

The charity recommends schools calculate the amount of free books they need based upon the number of pupils receiving free school meals.

Annie Ashford-Barnden, programme director for UK Reads, said, Since UK Reads launched in November 2020, we have given over 13,000 books to children across the UK. This year, we want to distribute 30,000 books to help bridge the widening literacy gap between disadvantaged children and their peers, which has been exacerbated by the Covid 19.’

Jon James, assistant headteacher at a London school, commented, The books from UK Reads have helped significantly with providing our most vulnerable pupils with additional reading materials to support their learning and foster a love for reading. Many of our pupils have struggled to access online books or, due to self-isolating, have not been able to access libraries. Therefore, being able to provide them with additional books has helped immeasurably.’

  • Schools can sign up to receive free books here 

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