Schools in Islington are invited to exciting author events this week to mark new initiative Get Islington Reading. Authors Sita Brahmachari and Tom McLaughlin will each host inspiring events for local pupils, who are invited to share photos of the work they create in these sessions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Pupils will be notified about the events through their teachers.
Get Islington Reading is a three-year project which is generously funded by the Charity of Sir Richard Whittington. The Reading Agency and the National Literacy Trust will work together with local partners including Islington Council Library Service, Islington School Improvement Service and Islington Education Library Service to develop a community of happy, confident readers across the borough, building on the work of local network Islington Reads. The Reading Agency will work with libraries and community groups to build reading engagement and enjoyment, while the National Literacy Trust will work with a selection of local schools to create a network of exciting, engaging activities to support and develop literacy skills.
Get Islington Reading will support families of children aged 9-14, inspiring young people to keep reading in the transition between primary and secondary school when reading for pleasure can often drop off. Research shows that the longer children can sustain a love of reading, the greater the benefits; 10-year-olds who enjoy reading have a reading age 1.3 years above their peers who don't enjoy reading. This rises to 2.1 years for 12-year-olds and 3.3 years for 14-year-olds.1
Other online activities on offer this week include an exciting performance by poet Paul Lyall, and two special events celebrating the life of local author Andrea Levy.
Jonathan Douglas CBE, Chief Executive of the National Literacy Trust, said:
"National Literacy Trust research shows that as children move from primary to secondary school their reading for pleasure levels can significantly decrease. Get Islington Reading will support children and young people during this challenging transition period, creating life-long readers and building a reading community across the borough. By inspiring young people to develop and sustain a love of reading, we'll set them up for success in their studies, and a happier, more successful future, both at school, and in their lives beyond."
Karen Napier, Chief Executive of The Reading Agency, said:
"At The Reading Agency we see first-hand the impact that reading for pleasure has on children and young people. All the research shows that the benefits are life changing, not just during childhood years but in respect of the long term benefit it installs. Get Islington Reading will inspire a new generation of readers, ensuring the young people of Islington benefit from the proven power of reading."
Author Sita Brahmachari said:
"I am so excited to have been invited to be a part of Get Islington Reading. Islington is a very special place for me in real life and in my fictional stories for young people. I have been working in Islington and inspired by children, educators and librarians in the borough since I began writing novels ten years ago. In fact many years before when working in community theatre I was a regular visitor to Islington Schools!"
Councillor Asima Shaikh, Islington Council's Executive Member for Inclusive Economy and Jobs, and the council's lead on libraries, said:
"The council's aim in all things is to help build a fairer Islington, and a large part of that is making Islington a fairer place for children to live and to grow up. Given the huge impact reading has on children's development and educational attainment, inspiring a love of reading is vital in helping to build a fairer future for our children. We're delighted to be part of delivering Get Islington Reading and thank the National Literary Trust, the Reading Agency and the Mercer's company for their funding and support."
1. National Literacy Trust (2017), Celebrating Reading for Enjoyment↩