The Reading Corner – A Spotlight
By Shuangyue Zhao and Tehzib Janjua
In light of the National Literacy Trust’s research, one in eight disadvantaged children in the UK don’t own a single book, with a total of over 400,000 children unable to access books. To combat this issue, The Reading Corner was founded as a non-profit organisation striving to support underprivileged reading communities, whilst contributing to encouraging diversity and inclusivity in the publishing industry.
The Reading Corner believes that literature can change the world (which it does).
Firstly, reading is the most important way to break the generational cycle. Research has revealed that “children who have poor language skills at the age of five are six times more likely to fail to reach the expected standard in English at aged eleven, three times more likely to experience mental health problems as adults, and twice as likely to be unemployed aged thirty-four.” Without sufficient literacy skills, people would neither be able to be successfully employed themselves, nor be able to offer conducive environments to their children. In the UK, the association between poverty and low literacy is profoundly strong, and the intergenerational cycle makes it more difficult to achieve social mobility and fairness.
Secondly, many social groups are still underrepresented in the books that children read. One third of UK children do not see themselves reflected in books, with the worst statistics among impoverished and minority ethnic readers. According to a new study, children’s socioeconomic circumstances affect their capacity to see themselves in books – 37.3% of children receiving free school meals fail to recognise themselves in what they read. Yet, a wonderful book can show children the real picture of the world, enhancing their imagination, confidence and insight.
How They Make a Difference?
Build and Provide
The Reading Corner fulfils its commitments by building libraries for disadvantaged communities. They work with hospitals, foster systems, schools in low-income regions and care homes to offer access to books for children.
The team of volunteers is working hard to realise their goals and dreams. They campaign nationally as well as locally in order to push literacy up the public agenda and change government policy for the better.
Support and Guide
The Reading Corner provides students with the support and guidance they need to make a career in the publishing industry, including mentorship and scholarship programmes.
The Reading Corner Book Club
A place to explore, discover and share new stories with one another whilst supporting children around the UK. Every month, members vote on a shortlist of five fiction books (across all genres). Then, as the date of the book club meeting approaches, members receive a link for the virtually hosted event and a notification if any in-person meetings are occurring in their area. Previous book selections include The Manningtree Witches, You People and There’s Someone Inside Your House. All profits made from this book club go towards helping their campaigns, attaining resources and spreading literacy.
Along with campaigns, The Reading Corner team hosts a variety of exciting digital and in person events, including Q&As with authors and a range of engaging fundraisers.
Handily, The Reading Corner features blogs. These allow readers to keep up with current news about The Reading Corner, as well as events and future plans. The blog page also features the “Help us Build Our First Library” tool. Through this feature, a chosen amount can be donated to The Reading Corner’s initiative, to introduce accessible literacy across the UK.
Meet The Team
The Reading Corner’s team consists of a diverse group of individuals who are passionate about literacy advocacy and childhood development and possess their own passions towards reading and all things bookish. The Founder and CEO of The Reading Corner is Laia Feliu, a self-proclaimed bookworm with an overarching aim of diversifying people’s bookshelves.
The Reading Corner believes that volunteers form the backbone of their organisation, helping them to reach so many children across the UK. If you decide to volunteer with The Reading Corner, the time and energy that you invest will enable them to achieve their mission of forming a community where all children have access to literature and the production of literature that reflects diverse backgrounds.
The Reading Corner currently has vacancies for volunteers in the following teams:
● Events Team (London and Surrey).
● Writing/Content Creation.
● Ambassador programme.
● Marketing Team.
● Fundraising Team.
How to Donate
To donate towards the growth of children’s literacy, subscribe to one of the many The Reading Corner memberships and watch as your donations change literacy accessibility as you know it.
The Bookshop Team hopes you’ll take the time to share and show your appreciation for The Reading Corner and many other campaigns that strives to reduce the reading gap.