More about UK Reads from the World Literacy Foundation

More about UK Reads from the World Literacy Foundation

Have you heard of UK Reads? We are another fantastic initiative of WLF that works in the United Kingdom.

Uk reads 3As a response to the vital need for UK children to have access to books at home, supporting parents to become their child’s first teacher, UK Reads was launched by WLF in 2020.

UK Reads is currently focusing on children and families who, due to pandemic restrictions, low incomes, and school closures, are now at an even higher risk of falling significantly behind with their vocabulary and reading ability. 

In 2012 the World Literacy Foundation began the World Literacy Summit at Oxford University in England, bringing together the global literacy community to build greater collaboration and partnerships.  

Due to its success, the Summit was held again in 2014, 2018 and in 2020 it moved to a Covid-19 safe online conference. It was from this work in the UK and awareness of this need that UK Reads was created.

There is a great divide in income and lifestyles across the UK. 380,000 young people living in poverty do not own a single book of their own and UK Reads is determined to change this shocking statistic. 

By reaching 5,000 children this summer with books, reading activity packs, and the literacy engagement they need, UK Reads is striving to break down the literacy inequalities found across Great Britain.

As with many World Literacy Foundation programs, UK Reads provides free books, fun, and engaging literacy packs, and inspiring educational resources, so all children can have the opportunity to discover the joy of reading, especially at home.

On World Book Day 2021, best-selling British authors added their voice of support to the UK Reads campaign designed to help children living in poverty to gain vital literacy skills. Award-winning podcaster and Sunday Times bestselling author, Emma Gannon, Sunday Times bestselling author and blogger Sarah Turner of the ‘Unmumsy Mum’ book series, and TV Writer and Sunday Times bestselling author, Bolu Babalola have added their voices to UK Reads’ literacy campaign ‘Before it’s too late’.

Head of UK, Caroline Burkie said “There are 5 million functionally illiterate adults in the UK which means they have a reading age of 11 or below and can understand only the most straightforward texts on familiar topics. If a parent is struggling with illiteracy, finding it hard to secure a job and broaden their horizons, it can become very challenging for them to support their child to read from an early age and break the cycle of poverty. Together we can eradicate illiteracy and it starts with raising awareness, providing a supportive and engaging environment, and access to the right resources.”

Bolu Babalola

Bolu Babalola Forbes 30 under 30, British-Nigerian Culture journalist and International Author said “I was very shy as a child and reading gave me a place to escape and to also find myself through characters and new perspectives. Stories gave me hope and confidence – characters felt like friends. I wish for every child to have the opportunity to find stories they enjoy and learn from, books that feel like support and inspiration for who they can become and what their futures hold. Every child deserves a book of their own and what better day to gift our love of books to the next generation by supporting this campaign. I don’t know where I would be without them being such a significant part of my childhood.” 

UK Reads is growing in team and fundraising and our delivery of projects steadily and have many exciting projects on the horizon.

For more information, please go to