Leeds City Council and BookTrust sign exciting partnership to launch the Leeds Year of Reading

Published on: 18 September 2019

BookTrust donates more than £1 million in books over three years as Leeds City Council officially launches the Leeds Year of Reading.

More than 200 school children attended a special celebratory event at Shakespeare Primary School

Leeds Year of Reading aims to promote and encourage a love of reading across the city and engage children and their families, from different communities and backgrounds, in positive reading activity, all to help generate a long-term love of reading.

To mark the start of this exciting initiative, the council signed a partnership agreement with BookTrust, as the UK’s largest children’s reading charity. We will contribute over £1million in books and resources for children and families in Leeds over the next three years.

Leeds is just one of over 150 areas in England that BookTrust has committed to funding with books and resources to get children reading.

Stimulating imagination

At the celebratory event, children from Shakespeare Primary School and a number of other schools across the city were entertained by Leeds’ own Rainbow Factory, who specialise in stimulating children’s imaginations through storytelling and the creative arts.

Composer and music educator Luke Carver Goss also ran a reading-themed songwriting session with the children, which led to a performance to invited guests and other students.

Over the next 12 months, Leeds City Council and key partners will inspire and activate schools and other education settings, libraries, businesses, ambassadors, individuals and families to promote a love of reading and to engage children in the wonderful world of storytelling.

Changing lives through reading

Councillor Jonathan Pryor, executive member for learning, skills and employment, said:

'We want everyone in Leeds to read – not just for learning, but also for enjoyment. Reading is a fundamental skill that underpins all areas of learning and a love of reading is a key factor in long term academic success.
'All across the city, people will be able to get involved in activities such as supporting reading sessions in schools, book swap days and much more. The Leeds Year of Reading will be inclusive and reflect the diversity of our city, incorporating the different cultures and languages that make the city what it is.'

Philip Mellen, deputy director for learning, Leeds City Council, said:

'We want Leeds to become a city of reading, where stories and books are valued and an integral part of everyone’s lives. Reading is a vital skill that is a cornerstone of successful learning and the Year of Reading launch is the catalyst for an exciting year filled with author visits, events and learning for children and families across our fantastic city.'

Diana Gerald, CEO of BookTrust, said:

'I’m delighted that we’re able to work with Leeds on such an exciting partnership. Leeds is clearly committed to changing the lives of their children and young people through reading, and understand how important reading is to improving their life chances.
'Research shows that a child who enjoys reading will do better in all subjects, even maths. That’s why we make sure every child gets high quality children’s books and support from birth, and why – working with Leeds Council – we will be distributing over £1,000,000 worth of books to children and families across the city over the next three years.'

Download the full press release (.docx, 81KB)

Topics: News

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