By Frances Tidey, The Literacy Trust and Stoke Reads
The National Literacy Trust is hosting a city-wide library takeover on Saturday 4th March in celebration of World Book Day to engage children with reading and raise literacy levels in the area. Six storytellers will bring the magic of books to every single one of Stoke’s six libraries, featuring a line-up of award-winning poets, actors, and theatre-makers.
Families can expect to be spellbound by Dominic Berry, Sophia Hatfield, Alan Barrett, Jenny Morgan, Ian Douglas, and Kat Hughes, who bring their stories to life in interactive and playful sessions. Through these free, fun-filled family storytelling sessions, the National Literacy Trust’s local literacy hub, Stoke Reads, supports local families and removes the financial and social barriers that can stop some families engaging with books and literacy.
During a cost-of-living crisis families may struggle to afford books, or even have the time and energy to visit a bookshop, when so much else demands their attention. That’s why the National Literacy Trust brings World Book Day celebrations directly to families, taking the £1 books out of bookshops and placing them into accessible areas that all families can visit. Each child that visits a Stoke library will receive a free World Book Day book and get to enjoy a storytelling experience in an accessible, community space.
Getting books into the hands of children is crucial as recent research from the National Literacy Trust shows that nearly 1 in 11 (8.5%) 8 – 18 year olds in the West Midlands say they don’t have a book of their own at home, a figure that far surpasses the national average of 1 in 15.
This community-based activity is just one example of the work the National Literacy Trust does with families from economically disadvantaged areas. Engaging families and children who need support on World Book Day can open them up to a lifetime love of books and reading, improve their literacy levels, and break the intergenerational cycle of poverty.
Lois Bateman, Hub Manager for Stoke Reads, said: “Seeing our city’s libraries light up with children excited about books is always the best part of World Book Day.During a cost of living crisis, when families may not prioritise purchasing books with other financial expenses rising, this is more important than ever. By going directly into the community, putting a World Book Day book in the hands of children, and sharing joyful experiences with literacy, we hope to reach more children than ever before.
“Our mission is to make literacy accessible and inclusive for every family all year round, so we’re proud to partner with World Book Day to remove financial and social barriers that reduce people’s chances of engaging with literacy.”
Amy Capewell, Senior Librarian at Stoke-on-Trent Libraries, said: “Stoke Reads works so hard to bring children to our libraries every day of the year, improving their access to literacy, and making reading a joyful experience for the city. We love presenting exciting storytelling events like these with Stoke Reads and World Book Day, bringing our warm, welcoming and inclusive community spaces to life. By giving children the gift of reading, together we can improve children and young people’s chances in life.”
For more information on the storytellers, where they are performing, and how to book, please visit the Stoke Reads World Book Day webpage.