Join in on National Reading Group Day

Save the date!

National Reading Group Day is coming up on Tuesday 14 September 2021.We hope that you’ll be able to join with your group online or in-person on 14 September to eat, drink and celebrate your reading group.

What is National Reading Group Day?

National Reading Group Day is the annual celebration of reading groups across the UK. We know how important reading groups are for their members, and for many people they’ve been a key way of staying connected during the pandemic. They bring people together, widen reading habits by introducing people to new books and authors, and can help you to enjoy books even more.

How can you get involved?

We’re inviting you to join in our National Reading Group Day conversation. Whether you’re a reading group member or not, this will be open to everyone on Facebook (@readingagency) at 6.30pm on 14 September.

We recently held a vote to choose our book, and we’re thrilled that the winner is The Foundling by Stacey Halls! Find out more about this brilliant book below, and get reading!

If you run a “Chatterbooks reading group”:https://readingagency.org.uk/children/quick-guides/chatterbooks/, you can also get involved with your group with a special activity pack that will get children talking and excited about books.

The Foundling by Stacey Halls

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Find out about The Foundling on Reading Groups for Everyone.

Find your local library.

Buy this book from Bookshop.org or hive.co.uk to support The Reading Agency and local bookshops at no additional cost to you.

If you’re a member of your local library, you can download the BorrowBox library lending app from your app store to access this book for free. Just login with your library ID/barcode and password/pin.

Two women, bound by a child, and a secret that will change everything…

London, 1754. Six years after leaving her illegitimate daughter Clara at London’s Foundling Hospital, Bess Bright returns to reclaim the child she has never known. Dreading the worst, that Clara has died in care, Bess is astonished to be told she has already claimed her. Her life is turned upside down as she tries to find out who has taken her little girl – and why.

Less than a mile from Bess’s lodgings in the city, in a quiet, gloomy townhouse on the edge of London, a young widow has not left the house in a decade. When her close friend – an ambitious young doctor at the Foundling Hospital – persuades her to hire a nursemaid for her daughter, she is hesitant to welcome someone new into her home and her life. But her past is threatening to catch up with her and tear her carefully constructed world apart.

From the bestselling author of The Familiars comes this captivating story of mothers and daughters, class and power, and love against the greatest of odds…

If you’re joining in on National Reading Group Day, we’ll see you on Facebook at 6.30pm on 14 September!

Bethan Woollvin’s draw a troll competition winners

In July, we were delighted to host a virtual read-a-long and draw-a-long with award-winning author-illustrator, Bethan Woollvin. Bethan read from her brand new picture book, Three Little Vikings, and taught children watching at home how to draw one of the characters from the story – a terrifying troll!

Children were invited to send in their drawings to be entered into a competition to win a copy of the book. Bethan had a very hard time judging the twenty-six brilliant drawings, which depicted a variety of grizzly, grumpy, slimy and silly trolls. Take a look at all of the entries below, including the three winners.

A recording of Bethan’s read-a-long and draw-a-long is available on our YouTube channel for a limited time only. Watch here until 28 October and buy a copy of the book here.

The entries

Winner no.1: Madeline, aged 3

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Winner no. 2: Emily, aged 9

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Winner no. 3: Reuben, aged 6

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Holly, aged 5

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Alex, aged 5

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Gurkeerit, aged 5

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Evelyn, aged 3 and Isla, aged 5

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Scarlett, aged 8

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Willow, aged 5

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Jesse, aged 3

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Charlotte, aged 3

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Liberty, aged 4

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Elodie, aged 5

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Callum, aged 7

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James, aged 10

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Alyssa, aged 6

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Gemma, aged 6

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Benjamin, aged 5

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Evie, aged 5

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Beatrice, aged 6

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Nalan, aged 5

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Ida, aged 4

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Aiden, aged 7

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Alison, aged 4

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Bradley, aged 4

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Martha, aged 5

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Olivia, aged 8

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The Reading Agency’s Reading Sparks programme to gift book bags to families experiencing hardship this summer

The Reading Agency is working with libraries, publishers and the Science and Technology Facilities Council to deliver STEM theme gift bags to low-income families across the UK this summer.

  • The Reading Agency is working with libraries, publishers and the Science and Technology Facilities Council to deliver STEM theme gift bags to low-income families across the UK this summer
  • Publishers have gifted children’s science titles by Serena Patel, Roger McGough and Vivian French among others1
  • The Science and Technology Facilities Council has gifted “Unmasked: The Science of Superheroes” co-authored by seven practising scientists and funded the co-ordination of the gift as part of the Reading Sparks programme
  • 17 library services across England, the Channel Islands and Northern Ireland will distribute the gift bags

The Reading Agency is coordinating gift bags that will be distributed to children and families across the UK by library services this summer. The gift bags include fantastic books for children of all ages with a STEM theme and STEM activities for families to complete over the summer.

This gift is part of The Reading Agency‘s new Reading Sparks programme, a new project to engage children and families with science through reading from The Reading Agency in partnership with libraries, the British Science Association, the Science and Technology Facilities Council(STFC) and NUSTEM.

We have received funding from Arts Council England and the STFC to work with 11 library services across England to harness the proven power of reading to engage families with STEM and bridge the gap in science capital for families from lower socio-economic groups, teenage girls and BAME communities. The project will run from 2021-23.

Library services will gift the packs via a variety of partners and engagement activities, including food banks, Early Help and Troubled Families teams, refugee support schemes and via Holiday Activities and Food programmes they are running in their local areas.

We have also put together a book list, using a selection of the gifted titles, to get children and families reading and sharing STEM ideas and activities this summer:

Participating publishers are:

The participating library services are:

  • Barnsley Libraries
  • Coventry Libraries
  • Derbyshire County Council
  • Halton Libraries
  • Libraries Unlimited
  • Portsmouth Libraries
  • London Borough of Hillingdon Libraries
  • Hull Libraries
  • Islington Library and Heritage Service
  • Jersey Libraries
  • Libraries NI
  • Manchester Libraries
  • Newcastle Library Service
  • Newham Libraries
  • Oldham Libraries
  • Staffordshire Libraries and Arts Service
  • Suffolk Libraries
  • Swindon Libraries

Karen Napier, CEO, The Reading Agency said:

“Our exciting new Reading Sparks programme is demonstrating the role that reading can play in sparking science engagement across the country, especially in areas with low science capital. This year children and families need support over the summer holidays more than ever. We are delighted to be working with libraries, publishers and STFC to be giving high quality STEM books and resources to families experiencing hardship. This gift forms part of our commitment to supporting the Covid recovery for those in greatest need and supporting learning and aspiration across all communities, but it wouldn’t be possible without the generosity of publishers, the support of library services across the country and of our funders Arts Council England and STFC.

Jenni Chambers, Head of Public Engagement and Skills, STFC, said:

“We are delighted that, through our partnership with the Reading Agency, we have been able to help provide an interesting and diverse range of STEM materials to be distributed through libraries to families facing hardship. At STFC, we know that science and technology is exciting and inspiring. These subjects can lead young people from any background towards rewarding opportunities in education and work. We hope young people, as well as their families and carers, will enjoy these materials and their visit to their vibrant and vital local libraries.”

Sue Williamson, Director, Libraries at Arts Council England said:

“Arts Council England is proud to support The Reading Agency and the Reading Sparks programme which is helping young people who have been severely affected by the pandemic, reaching into some of the most deprived areas across the UK. Library services are the heart of the community and are fundamental in supporting people through the recovery from Covid. We’re delighted that library services will be working with The Reading Agency, gifting the packs via a variety of partners, including food banks, Early Help and Troubled Families teams, refugee support schemes and through Holiday Activities.”

The Reading Agency

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