By the time schools return in September it will be six months since most children have had regular education and schooling.
We already know that many primary school children in our area fall behind in their literacy by comparison to other areas of the UK and that for many there is limited or no access to books.
Stoke Reads is an organisation that works incredibly hard to inspire families across the city to read together and helps parents to support their children’s literacy skills. They also work with schools to support the teaching of literacy, and partner with local businesses who support them in their mission to raise literacy levels in the city.
Importantly, Stoke Reads also gives positive support for working parents, particularly over the summer through initiatives such as Story Quest or the Book Bench Trail, which features eight trails based throughout the parks of Stoke-on-Trent.
Stoke Reads relies on the support of many partner organisations such as YMCA, HUBB Foundation, Port Vale Foundation, Stoke City, Santus, the BID, VAST, Stoke Speaks Out and Middleport Matters as well as many local businesses.
They have already worked with 53 primary schools and 14 local organisations to provide nearly 3000 activity packs and over 5000 books to children across the city. Five external organisations have provided donations to the city including Harper Collins, Bloomsbury publishers, KMPG and REY Paper. These donations have included Harry Potter books, activity packs and paper, children’s magazine, and instant libraries for primary schools.
However, they are still only scratching the surface and need continued support from our business community to reach even more children. Any help is appreciated no matter how small – and it is a great way to fulfil your corporate social responsibility requirements.
We are looking at our future workforce here and we all know that grasping the skill of reading and a love of books at primary school age sets you on course for academic achievement and a fulfilling career.
I would urge all employers to take a look at the Stoke Reads and the support on offer to employees and their families. To find out more about how you can help Stoke Reads you can visit www.stokereads.org.uk or their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/StokeReads/
If you want to talk to us about any business issues, you can call our switchboard on 01782 202222 or call the Stoke and Staffs Growth Hub Helpline on 0300 111 8002.