Read North East launches today: A new chapter for literacy in the North East

We’re proud to be part of Read North East, a new campaign to raise children’s literacy levels in the North East. The campaign is led by the National Literacy Trust and supported by Penguin Random House UK, the Education Endowment Foundation and Greggs PLC together with local schools, libraries and arts organisations.

Read North East will address the significant literacy challenges faced by the UK’s North East region, an area with a rich and compelling history of language and writing, but also with some of the lowest literacy levels in the country. Research shows that 17% of the population in the North East aged 16 to 65 have literacy skills at or below those expected of a 9 to 11-year-old.

The intergenerational literacy challenge in the region has been reinforced by recent data analysis by the National Literacy Trust and Experian, which looked at the societal factors most closely associated with low literacy. The analysis of every electoral ward and parliamentary constituency in England found that 60% of wards in the North East are at risk of serious literacy problems, making it the second most vulnerable region to literacy issues in the country after London.

Our commitment to Read North East forms part of our overall Creative Responsibility commitment to the national Read On. Get On goal to get every child reading well by the age of 11 by 2025.


The campaign will focus on early years literacy, encouraging parents to read with their babies and children under 5 to give them the best start in life. Read North East will bring together a range of partners, with a new creative campaign later in the year featuring iconic characters from Penguin Random House UK’s books to capture families’ imaginations and inspire them to read. Local businesses will also have the opportunity to play an important role in Read North East through a regional business pledge.

Read North East launches today in Sunderland at an event hosted by John Mowbray OBE, High Sherriff of Tyne and Wear. Penguin Random House author Cathy Cassidy will speak at the launch event as part of the panel, as well as Joanna Prior, Penguin General MD.

National Literacy Trust Director, Jonathan Douglas, said:

Partnerships are vital to the success of this new campaign and we are delighted to be working with a range of brilliant organisations to improve literacy levels in the North East – a region with such a rich identity of language and writing. The early years are a crucial time for young children to develop the literacy skills that will set them up for the future. Working together we can ensure that every child in the North East has the literacy skills they need to succeed at school and in life."


Joanna Prior, Managing Director, Penguin General, added:


We are happy to be working with the National Literacy Trust and local partners to help bring the fun and excitement of books and reading to children in the North East. Penguin Random House UK is committed to helping every child read well by the age of 11. We know that a love of reading can literally change lives for the better and our books, authors and illustrators can make that magic happen for every child – wherever they live and whatever their circumstances."


You can find out more about the campaign here, and read more about our Creative Responsibility commitment to reading for all here.

You can also follow the launch event on social media using #ReadNorthEast.

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