Give a Book is a charity that promotes books and the pleasure of reading in the hardest places. Our core belief is that to pass on a good read – to give a book – is a transaction of lasting worth. Our main areas of work are in schools, prisons and with disadvantaged children and young people throughout the UK.
Research consistently shows that reading for pleasure not only has a positive impact on educational attainment and literacy skills but can also enhance other life skills such as confidence, communication and empathy.
“Reading for pleasure has a dramatic impact on life outcomes.” The Impact of Reading for Pleasure and Empowerment, 2015, Reading Agency report.
“..Reading to me is one of the most important opportunities we can offer our children. Instilling a love of reading early, gives a child a head start in not only developing literacy skills and vocabulary but also by stimulating imagination, sparking curiosity, developing empathy and helping children make sense of the world around them. For some of our children, reading is about having a place to escape to, for them to learn about places and feelings that they might not experience from home… Without the support from Give a Book, we would not have been able to engage our children, to not only have a love for books but also improve their reading skills, which teachers have commented on.”Primary Literacy Lead
What we do
We develop individual reading projects according to specific need with creative, bespoke ways of leading to reading, offering practical solutions to encourage the enjoyment of reading and help make a lasting difference in people’s lives. Often working in co-ordination with others to extend our reach we provide books, book bags, writing materials and expertise that benefit adults and children.
Some of our children’s projects:
Our School Breakfast Book Clubs support pupils from socially and economically disadvantaged backgrounds by providing books to read with their breakfast, nourishing both body and mind. With growing numbers of pupils in areas where reading is not part of their daily life, the clubs fill a gap to encourage reading for pleasure.
“Children are often seen reading to each other at the Breakfast Book Club and seeing their confidence grow is fantastic.”Breakfast Club leader
Every year Give a Book works on a Whole School Reading Project with a school that doesn’t have a library and needs support to become more proactive in promoting reading for pleasure. As well as setting up a Breakfast Book Club, arranging author visits and reading clubs, we create a wonderful bright, imaginative library space for the whole school to enjoy.
“..the work they [Give a Book] have done with us as a school goes beyond simply the books, they have given us a new adventure into reading!”Headteacher
Making it Up is a family reading project with workshops to help prisoner parents feel more confident about reading and enjoying books with their children while discovering the joys of storytelling themselves. We devised a special in-cell pack for parents in prison to use to create a book for their child.
“I went to B Wing yesterday and got shown the most incredible book that one of our men had made – all based on the minions from Despicable Me”Family Liaison Officer
We have worked in collaboration and partnership with schools and prisons for several years. By nurturing established contacts and building a network of support, we have reached many more participants.
Promoting books and the pleasure of reading in the hardest places is the main mission of our charity. The most successful part of this challenging year has been our ability to be flexible and adapt our projects to be able promote books and reading. Our good working relationships with schools at all levels has enabled us to move forward quickly and efficiently.
Some of the lessons we learned were that although we may not be able to run all our projects as we had done in the past, we were able to innovate and create new projects as well as adapting.
The many testimonials we receive show the impact that our work has on not only the children but their families too.
“It has been absolutely fantastic to receive these books…Books are probably the greatest gift a school could receive. We constantly need to replenish and update our book provision and we are passionate about reading for pleasure due to the clear benefits for later academic success, mental health and wellbeing. The selection of books received has been diverse – there is a mix a fiction, non-fiction, poetry, picture books, young novels. This is exactly what we want to promote in our school so thank you!”
“We have been working with the charity Give a book since the summer of 2020. As the world was plunged into uncertainty, it didn’t stop the charity ensuring the children at our school still had the opportunities to read and find pleasure in it…Working in partnership with the charity, they are supporting us to engage our children with reading and develop a passion for it across the school… They have created a space that is tranquil and inviting and given us the opportunity to find pleasure in reading again. And it doesn’t stop there, they have also worked with us, listening to our vision for our children and the community we serve but also resourcing our library to ensure the children get a rich experience with every book they choose.”
“Give a Book did a wonderful job with our space. The impact on children’s reading and enjoyment has been immense. The children always express how grateful they are for all of our fantastic books” (Head Teacher).
“The children have found the library a comfortable place to be able to go and enjoy a good quality book”Y2 Teacher
We have yet to see what the long term effects of the lockdown on children and young people will be but there are continuing reports of a growing attainment gap with many children and young people living in our most deprived communities doing significantly worse at all levels of the education system than those from our least deprived communities. In this our 10th birthday year, we are working with more and more schools and other organisations to support reading projects across the UK.