A new campaign has been launched in Sunderland to boost children’s literacy levels across the region.
The Read North East campaign will focus on early years literacy, encouraging parents to read with their children from birth, whilst running a series of events and activities to encourage children and families to pick up a book.
Launched with an event at Sunderland University, the scheme was announced by the North East Literacy Forum, led by the National Literacy Trust and supported by publisher Penguin Random House UK, the Education Endowment Foundation and Greggs PLC.
It comes after research showed that literacy levels in the North Eat are among the lowest in the country.
Popular characters from Penguin Random House UK’s books will be used in the campaign to capture the imaginations of families and inspire them to read.
The launch event was hosted by High Sheriff of Tyne and Wear, John Mowbray OBE.
He said: “I chose literacy as my theme for my year as High Sheriff as it is the key to unlock the potential of young people in our region. What I found as I investigated was a range of organisations doing some amazing work and now working together to support this campaign. I hope all sectors can join with our partners as together we can really improve literacy levels in the North East.”
National Literacy Trust Director Jonathan Douglas said: “Partnerships are vital to the success of this new campaign and we are delighted to be working with a range of brilliant organisations to improve literacy levels in the North East – a region with such a rich identity of language and writing.
“The early years are a crucial time for young children to develop the literacy skills that will set them up for the future. Working together we can ensure that every child in the North East has the literacy skills they need to succeed at school and in life.”
Joanna Prior, Managing Director, Penguin General Books, added: “We are happy to be working with the National Literacy Trust and local partners to help bring the fun and excitement of books and reading to children in the North East. Penguin Random House UK is committed to helping every child read well by the age of 11. We know that a love of reading can literally change lives for the better and our books, authors and illustrators can make that magic happen for every child - wherever they live and whatever their circumstances.”