Oxford University Press reveals nationwide reading roadshow with a mission to inspire children to become lifelong readers

Raise a Reader Tour

Oxford University Press reveals nationwide reading roadshow with a mission to inspire children to become lifelong readers

  • Forms part of OUP’s three-year Raise a Reader campaign to help provide children and young people with the opportunities to become lifelong readers post-pandemic
  • Raise a Reader campervan to visit ten locations across England: 31 Oct – 11 Nov
  • Featuring children’s authors and illustrators including Alex Falase-Koya, Korky Paul, AM Dassu, Harriet Muncaster, Anthony McGowan, Sally Nicholls & Jodie Lancet Grant

Oxford, Tuesday 25 October 2022:
Today, Oxford University Press (OUP) has revealed plans for its national roadshow as part of the launch of its Raise a Reader campaign. The three-year Raise a Reader initiative, which was announced last month, is supported by celebrities including Alesha Dixon and Louise Pentland and aims to provide children and young people with the tools and opportunities to become lifelong readers in the wake of the pandemic.

To address findings from new consumer and educator research exploring the barriers to becoming a life-long readers, the Raise a Reader campervan will visit ten locations across England with lower levels of literacy. The campervan – packed full of free books, exciting activities, and engaging reading resources – will tour schools, bookshops and public spaces on a nationwide celebration of books and reading from Monday 31 October to Friday 11 November.

Leading OUP children’s authors and illustrators, such as illustrator of the iconic Winnie and Wilbur picture books Korky Paul and author of the global best-selling Isadora Moon series Harriet Muncaster, will join the tour at each stop to inspire children with engaging workshops and storytelling sessions. In addition, members of the OUP team will be sharing resources to help break down the barriers to reading for pleasure.

The tour will begin in Oxford on Monday 31 October, with a visit to one of the schools participating in the ‘Oxfordshire Raise a Reader Programme’ – a collaboration between OUP and the National Literacy Trust with the goal of championing reading in Oxfordshire’s most disadvantaged and under-served communities.

The Raise a Reader roadshow itinerary

Monday 31 October: Oxfordshire

  • Alex Falase-Koya and Paula Bowles, author and illustrator of the smash-hit superhero series, Marv, will visit Dashwood Academy in Banbury – one of the ten schools taking part in the ‘Oxfordshire Raise a Reader Programme’.

Tuesday 1 November: Brighton & Hove

  • Leigh Hodgkinson, author and illustrator behind Martha Maps it Out, will visit pupils at St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School in Brighton.
  • The Book Nook in Hove will play host to a range of reading activities, 10.30—11.30am.

Wednesday 2 November: Camborne, Cornwall

  • Naomi and James Jones, the husband-and-wife creative duo behind the bestselling picture books The Perfect Fit and One More Try, will visit Rosemellin Community Primary School in Cambourne.
  • Local bookshop Stories by the Sea will also host Naomi and James Jones at St Ives Infant School with a range of reading activities to engage school children.

Thursday 3 November: Bristol

  • Sean Julian, whose beautifully illustrated books have entertained children for over 20 years, will visit pupils at Henbury Court Primary Academy.

Friday 4 November: Birmingham

  • Paula Harrison, author of beloved Kitty series, will visit St John Bosco Catholic Primary School in West Bromwich.
  • AM Dassu, internationally acclaimed YA author of Boy, Everywhere, will visit Fortis Academy in Great Barr.

Monday 7 November: Manchester

  • Corrine Averiss, author of the acclaimed Move Mountain, A Dot in the Snow and A Song in the Mist, will visit East Ward Community School in Bury, supported by the Madeleine Lindley bookstore, and Old Hall Drive Academy in Manchester.
  • Sally Nicholls, prize-winning YA author behind the inspiring Things a Bright Girl Can Do, will visit William Hulme’s Grammar School in Manchester.

Tuesday 8 November: Doncaster

  • Lou John, author of The Worry Jar, a picture book which teaches children to better manage their worries, will visit Bentley High Street Primary in Doncaster.

Wednesday 9 November: Nottingham

  • Korky Paul, illustrator of the iconic Winnie and Wilbur series which this year celebrates its 35th anniversary, will run special workshops at Radcliffe-on-Trent Junior School and Windmill Academy.

Thursday 10 November: Cambridge

  • Matty Long, author and illustrator behind the acclaimed Super Happy Magic Forest series, will visit pupils at St Matthew’s Primary School, alongside a visit to his local bookstore, Heffers, between 10am-12pm.

Friday 11 November: London
Korky Paul joins fellow bestselling authors and illustrators Harriet Muncaster (Isadora Moon and Emerald and the Ocean Parade), Anthony McGowan (Lark), Jodie Lancet Grant (The Pirate Mums & The Marvellous Doctors), and Paul Westmoreland (Rudy and the Wolf Cub) across five London schools.

  • Harriet Muncaster will visit Lyon Park Primary School in Wembley.
  • Jodie Lancet Grant will visit Vicarage Primary School in Newham.
  • Paul Westmoreland will visit Harris Primary Academy in Beckenham.
  • Korky Paul will visit Nelson Primary School in Newham.
  • Anthony McGowan will visit The Petchey Academy in Hackney.

Support for the Raise a Reader campaign:

Author and TV personality Alesha Dixon is supporting the Raise a Reader campaign:

‘Reading has been a passion for me ever since I was a girl at school, and becoming a mum has been an inspiration to pass that love of books on to my own children. I’m proud to support the Raise a Reader initiative so that all children will have the opportunity to get as excited about reading as I am!’

Author, Creator and Raise a Reader Ambassador, Louise Pentland said:

‘I am absolutely thrilled to be working with Raise a Reader. Reading and children’s literacy has been a passion project of mine for many years – it’s fundamental and these latest stats only prove how important it really is. Ultimately the goal is to help as many children as possible become lifelong readers – and there are many ways to do this – from education, to access, to understanding. Reading for pleasure has quite simply been a magical part of my life, and my children’s lives – so to help open this door to other children [and adults] simply fills me with joy.’

TV & Radio Broadcaster and Raise a Reader Ambassador, Sonali Shah, said:

‘I’m delighted to be supporting Raise a Reader. Reading means so much to me and my own family – it can bring joy, escapism and comfort, it’s a wonderful activity to do together and I really love taking time out of our busy lives to share that precious reading time with my children. I try to get my kids reading whenever and however I can – whether it’s while we’re travelling somewhere, relaxing before bedtime or by letting them feel independent by choosing what book we read – even if we’ve read it dozens of times before! There are so many ways to raise a reader for life – do what’s right for you and your family, have confidence and most of all, have fun!’

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Press Contact

For further information or to request interviews, please contact:

Hannah McMillan: hannah.mcmillan@midaspr.co.uk | 07971 086649
Amelia Knight: amelia.knight@midaspr.co.uk | 07771 791210

For NLT questions please contact:
Rachel Samuel: rachel.samuel@literacytrust.org.uk | 07399 447705

About the Raise a Reader research

OUP spoke to parents, teachers and children across the UK, between May and July 2022. The teacher survey was conducted by OUP, gathering responses from 339 teachers across the UK in May 2022. The children’s online survey was conducted by CHILDWISE on behalf of OUP, surveying 1255 children aged 7-11 years in June to July 2022 via the CHILDWISE Playground Buzz.

Figures for the parent research are based on fieldwork conducted by Opinium on behalf of OUP. Fieldwork was undertaken between 7th and 12th July 2022, amongst 2,000 UK parents of children aged 3 to 11.

  • Findings show that 28% of children aged 7-11 want their parents and carers to read to or with them more often
  • A third of parents said they would read more to children if they had more time in the day
  • Four in ten parents said they find it difficult to get their child to concentrate; 3 in 10 say that reading with their child is a challenge; nearly a quarter say screen time and gadgets get in the way of reading
  • 86% of parents believe reading will have a positive impact on their child’s academic success later in life, and 80% believe that reading to their child improves the child’s wellbeing and mental health

Despite the challenges, the survey showed that parents understood the far-reaching and long-term benefits of reading at home with their children:

  • 97% considered it important for their children to be confident readers, 85% agreed that ‘reading helps my child do better at school’
  • More than 7 in 10 believe that being read to helps their child to go to sleep better, builds empathy and helps them to form friendships
  • 84% of parents and carers enjoy reading with their child

About Raise a Reader

Informed by recent parent and educator research into the barriers to reading for pleasure post-pandemic, and building upon Oxford University Press’ long-term expertise and commitment to reading and children's language, Raise a Reader aims to help as many children as possible become lifelong readers in the wake of the pandemic.

Over the three years, Raise a Reader will champion reading for pleasure and the transformative benefits this brings to a child’s life via exciting partnerships and initiatives, bringing schools, booksellers, authors, local communities, parents, librarians, literacy partners and reading experts together.

About Oxford University Press

Oxford University Press (OUP) is a department of the University of Oxford. It furthers the University's objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide. OUP is the world's largest university press with the widest global presence.

It currently publishes thousands of new publications a year, has offices in around fifty countries, and employs approximately 6,000 people worldwide.

It has become familiar to millions through a diverse publishing program that includes scholarly works in all academic disciplines, bibles, music, school and college textbooks, children's books, materials for teaching English as a foreign language, business books, dictionaries and reference books, and academic journals.

About the National Literacy Trust

Our mission is to improve the reading, writing, speaking and listening skills of those who need it most, giving them the best possible chance of success in school, work and life. We run Literacy Hubs and campaigns in communities where low levels of literacy and social mobility are seriously impacting people’s lives. We support schools and early years settings to deliver outstanding literacy provision, and we campaign to make literacy a priority for politicians, businesses and parents. Our research and analysis make us the leading authority on literacy and drive our interventions. Literacy is a vital element of action against poverty and our work changes children and young people’s life stories. Our new site Words for Life provides simple, fun and educational activities for children and young people aged 0-24 to support learning at home and help them feel more confident. Visit literacytrust.org.uk to find out more, donate or sign up for our free email newsletter. You can also find us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

The Primary School Library Alliance

Founded in November 2021 by the National Literacy Trust and Penguin Random House UK, the Alliance works with its flagship partners to address the chronic lack of investment in primary school libraries and bring together relevant parties to help solve this urgent issue. The Alliance aims to transform 1000 primary school libraries by 2025. Partners include Arts Council England, high street brand Burberry, the Marcus Rashford Book Club, digital bank Chase, Oxford University Press and 26 organisations. For more information, please visit www.literacytrust.org.uk/policy-and-campaigns/libraryalliance