Specially written ten-minute stories from authors including David Walliams (Mr Stink), former children’s laureate Michael Morpurgo (War Horse) and Jeff Kinney (Diary of a Wimpy Kid) will be published in the Saturday editions of The Sun and available as free children’s e-books for Sun+ members.
The Get Kids Reading campaign is part of a wider ‘Read On, Get On’ campaign with Save the Children that calls on the government, local organisations and parents to tackle illiteracy and get children reading.
The campaign aims to raise literacy levels so every child born this year can read well by the time they are 11 in 2025.
A Save The Children-led report reveals that Britain currently has one of the biggest literacy problems in Europe with one in six adults not being able to read to the standard set for 11-year olds. The cost of illiteracy to the economy is currently an estimated £18bn a year. By 2025 that could well have risen to an annual £43bn.
David Dinsmore, Editor of The Sun, said: “Illiteracy in Britain should be something our schoolchildren know only from the pages of their history books. Getting kids to read about things they’re interested in is half the battle. With exclusive stories by top children¹s authors and free e-book offers, we will be helping parents find ways to make reading an easy everyday part of life.”
Justin Forsyth from Save The Children said: “We want every child to be given a fair and equal chance to learn to read well. We applaud The Sun for getting behind this campaign, and look forward to working with its readers to restore literacy to its rightful levels in the UK.”
Education Secretary Nicky Morgan said: “I wholeheartedly endorse this campaign. Eradicating illiteracy and innumeracy is central to our plan for education.”
David Walliams said: “This country is falling behind in literacy levels so it’s so important for children to get help. Reading shouldn’t be a chore. It’s a lovely connection you can have with your children both painting the picture in your heads.”
The Sun bus is visiting schools giving away books throughout October along with the free children’s e-books available to download online.