After the success of his intervention with the lack of food provision for low-income families during the school holidays, Marcus Rashford launched a book club with the aim of getting books into the homes of some of the most vulnerable children in our society. With statistics reading that if a young person isn’t at their expected reading age by Year 2 then they will always be playing catch up. 25% of 15-year-olds have a reading age of only 12, these 15-year-olds are then expected to sit GCSE qualifications without the full comprehensive capacity to understand all of the questions.
We wanted to make a change within the areas that the lottery areas that we work in. We decided to run book collection event at venues across the funded areas such as community stands and schools. We incentivized the book collections from the community by adding a name into the hat for each donor of the project. We chose to select waterstones vouchers as a prize so that those who donated could buy some new books. We had received an estimated 250 books through families and schools.
We were then made aware of the Doncaster based social enterprise Re Read. This organization takes donations of books from schools, libraries, house clearances and sorts them into two groups. One is to sell the literature aimed at adults, the profit-making side of the organization and the other is to give the children’s books away for free, to get literature into the homes of children that don’t own books. We contacted Jim, explained our project and what we hoped to achieve, he offered us as many books as we required. Books we had received from donors previously were donated to Jim’s social enterprise so they could be redistributed to other families across south Yorkshire.
After such a successful meeting with Re-Read the projects scope had grown due to the enormous quantity of books now available. It was time to recontact schools having discussed how the project could now engage on a different level. Schools were interested in partnering with RotherFed and Re-Read to host a book giveaway day for school children. We began to collect the number of students, so we knew the number of pupils per year group. Additionally, they were able to provide potential dates however due to covid the project was delayed until the new year in September.
Alongside volunteers, we gave time to sort through books at Re Read to organize enough books to give all the young people a choice of good quality books. Boxes were created into EYFS, KS1, KS2 and KS3 and labeled with the number of books to transport to schools. This work completed in the upcoming months to September. These boxes were then dropped off by Re Read on the day of the event. We had set up the tables from EYFS books to KS2 so that children could choose a book from a structured display. We had also asked teachers to support pupils in picking a book for the pupil to read and not picking a book for a family member. To help some of the children decide which book they wanted to take home we spoke with them to learn about their interests as some young poeple found it hard to choose. Some pupils couldn’t decide between books and would have taken home more than one if they could have which was great to see.
Overall, the project managed to deliver 1590 books into the hands of school children of Trinity Croft CofE Junior and Infant School, Ferham Primary School, Thornhill Primary School, Coleridge Primary School, High Greave Infant and Junior schools, St Joseph’s Catholic Primary and St Bernard’s Catholic High. Each pupil also received a gift bag that contained a book-mark and fun literacy task that was created by a local literary company Grimm and Co. Teachers in all schools praised the project saying it was fantastic and if we were coming back in future. The best part about this project was when we the primary children had realized that the book that they had picked to read was for them to keep. We some amazing reactions and lots of school children said a big thankyou when leaving the hall.
We have made very positive relationships with schools for further projects as well as our partners Re-Read having worked alongside them to make this event happen over the last 6 months.
I just wanted to say a massive THANK YOU for Thursday. I genuinely did not expect the enthusiasm from the children which I saw. My personal highlight was the last little Year 8 boy who hadn’t been up to the library so left his basketball game to get a book – my jaw dropped!!! Literature won out over PE!!!!
When I visited the form rooms during P5 PD hour, some of the children were reading their books and checked that they were still allowed to keep the books – this was so overwhelming to some of them. They couldn’t quite process this!
Honestly, you were so lovely with our children, and you made it such an easy event.
Please remember us if anything else comes up in the future.
Thank youEmail from St Bernards Catholic High School
Thanks for Wednesday. The kids loved it and they all got a new book which is the most important thing.
“All our children have been so fortunate today to have access to a free book thanks to @DanielRotherfed.Thank you for organising this for our children. They all loved looking through different books today.”
“Here are a few pictures of our Y2 children also having the best time selecting a book to take home this afternoon. We are so lucky to work in partnership with @DanielRotherfed.”
Coleridge Primary School
The children were buzzing in the hall, carefully selecting, and commenting ‘we read this in class’ ‘I’m choosing this it’s got lots of facts’Comment from a member of staff at Thornhill Primary School
‘You mean I can take this home…… I can keep it’ You could hear the smile in his voice.Comment in the classroom at Thornhill Primary School
‘Thank you for the books we really appreciate them and are enjoying reading them’Overall comment from the class at Thornhill Primary School