Oxfordshire's Premier Lifestyle Magazine

National Literacy Trust Unveil New Library

Oxford University Press and the National Literacy Trust unveil new library at St Francis C.E. primary school.
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Oxford University Press (OUP) and the National Literacy Trust will unveil a new library at St Francis C.E. Primary School in Cowley, Oxfordshire, to officially launch the second year of the Oxfordshire Raise a Reader programme.

Korky Paul, best-selling illustrator of the Winnie and Wilbur series which has sold more than nine million copies worldwide, will cut the ribbon and celebrate with a special reading event with the children.

St Francis is one of ten new reading spaces opening across Oxfordshire schools this spring-term. Each school has received 500 books, as well as a range of soft furnishings and book storage. The schools will also receive ongoing in-person specialist training from OUP and the National Literacy Trust to help develop effective whole-school reading strategies as well as a subscription to the digital reading service Oxford Reading Buddy, and the opportunity to take part in an exciting programme of author visits.

This is the second year of the Oxfordshire Raise a Reader programme, which in total has seen new libraries open in 20 primary schools in some of Oxfordshire’s most disadvantaged communities. Almost 3,000 children in Oxfordshire benefitted from the first year of the programme in 2023, with more than 200 children from the first cohort of schools sharing their feedback; four in ten (44)% stated the changes to their school library make them want to read more, and almost three-quarters who use the library (73%) say they do so at least weekly.

Caroline Derby, Head of Early Literacy and Phonics at Oxford University Press, commented:
We are thrilled to be able to extend our Oxfordshire Raise a Reader programme to an additional ten schools this year. When we first launched our Raise a Reader initative we were keen to offer support where it is needed most in our local community. We know just how important it is to ensure that all children have the tools and opportunities to become lifelong readers and we hope these new library spaces will excite and inspire the next generation of readers.

Anneliese Dodds, Labour MP for Oxford East,
said: “Access to books and regular reading are really important for developing children’s reading and language skills. Unfortunately too many children do not have easy access to such resources. This acts as a barrier to future opportunities. I am really pleased that OUP and the National Literacy Trust have been able to work with St Francis’ to deliver this new library. We need to be working to break down barriers to opportunity for all children and young people across the country.”

Jonathan Douglas, Chief Executive at the National Literacy Trust,
added, “So far, thanks to our partnership with OUP, we have seen 10 new schools in Oxfordshire benefit from new libraries. We are delighted to be working with them and 10 more schools this year because we know that 1 in 7 primary schools in the UK don’t have a school library. This, coupled with families struggling to afford books at home, means children are missing out on the enormous positive impact that reading for pleasure can have on their learning and wellbeing. School libraries are vital in opening up the world to children, and nurturing a love of reading that can last a lifetime.”

The Oxfordshire Raise a Reader programme first launched in 2023 and to date OUP has donated 10,000 books to 20 schools across Oxfordshire.

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