WHSmith give books to young readers

The company funds our Young Readers Programme and supports World Book Day.

WHSmith was one of the 44 inaugural signatories of the Vision for Literacy Business Pledge in 2016. Leading businesses have committed to helping raise literacy levels in the UK by taking clear action in three areas: within their workforce, in their local communities and at a national level.

Young Readers Programme

Showing their ongoing commitment to boosting literacy in local areas, WHSmith has worked with the National Literacy Trust on the Young Readers Programme since 2005. The programme encourages reading for enjoyment and helps pupils to choose books they’ll enjoy.

Young Readers at a WHSmith store with their free books

The most recent project has seen WHSmith work with the National Literacy Trust on a bespoke model which helps schools to develop a culture of reading for enjoyment over three consecutive years. The project model encourages children from several year groups to take part in ‘peer reading’ activities, including recommending books to friends and the local community and sharing reading time together

The project has highlighted the positive impact that reading with peers can have on children’s reading abilities and attitudes. 73% of all participating children are reading more frequently as a result of the programme and 91% of teachers have observed better overall reading attainment against expected reading levels for participating children.

The programme also allows pupils to visit their local WHSmith store, enabling children who may not have had experiences of book-related environments to learn how to find books that suit their reading interests and abilities in a ‘real life’ environment. WHSmith employees also have the chance to engage with local schools as pupils visiting the store take part in fun activities like a book-themed treasure hunt, quizzes and ‘behind the scenes’ tours. 91% of WHSmith stores have reported a positive impact on staff development as a result of taking part.

World Book Day

This year WHSmith continued to play a leading role in World Book Day, the annual celebration of books and reading which is marked in over 100 countries across the globe.

High street stores marked the day with special events including competitions, fancy dress, author signing sessions and workshops. Local schools were invited into stores so that they could take part in the special events and use their £1 World Book Day vouchers. WHSmith also worked with publishers to ensure that the schools all had a good supply of the £1 World Book Day books to spend their free vouchers on.

Raising money for charity

WHSmith staff and customers have shown their passion for supporting charitable causes that focus on improving literacy levels, raising valuable money to help promote literacy and support local charities in the communities that WHSmith operates in.

Staff have fundraised through a range of sporting challenges, including the London Marathon and Great North Run, and through the WHSmith Trust shop in the Swindon head office. Collections tins in WHSmith stores also give customers the opportunity to donate their spare change.

Find out more about the Vision for Literacy Business Pledge.

Originally published at www.literacytrust.org.uk.

National Literacy Trust

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