Raise a Reader marks second year with a new primary school library

Last week, we unveiled a new library at St Francis C.E. primary school in Oxfordshire as part of the second year of our Raise a Reader Oxfordshire programme, in partnership with the National Literacy Trust.  

Korky Paul—best-selling illustrator of the Winnie and Wilbur series that has sold more than nine million copies worldwidecut the ribbon to formally open the new library. We then celebrated with a special reading event with the children. 

More libraries to come 

St Francis is one of ten new reading spaces opening across Oxfordshire schools this spring-term, with each school receiving 500 books, as well as a range of soft furnishings and book storage.  

The schools will receive ongoing in-person specialist training from OUP and the National Literacy Trust to help develop effective whole-school reading strategies. They’ll also have access to a subscription to the digital reading service, Oxford Reading Buddy, as well as the opportunity to take part in an exciting programme of author visits.   

Anneliese Dodds, Labour MP for Oxford East, said:

Access to books and regular reading are really important for developing children’s reading and language skills. Unfortunately too many children do not have easy access to such resources. This acts as a barrier to future opportunities. I am really pleased that OUP and the National Literacy Trust have been able to work with St Francis’ to deliver this new library. We need to be working to break down barriers to opportunity for all children and young people across the country.” 

Making a positive impact in disadvantaged communities 

This is the second year of the Oxfordshire Raise a Reader programme, which in total has seen new libraries open in 20 primary schools in some of Oxfordshire’s most disadvantaged communities. 

Almost 3,000 children in Oxfordshire benefitted from the first year of the programme in 2023, and we had some great feedback from teachers and children alike.

Caroline Derby, Head of Early Literacy and Phonics at OUP said:

When we first launched our Raise a Reader initiative we were keen to offer support where it is needed most in our local community. We know just how important it is to ensure that all children have the tools and opportunities to become lifelong readers and we hope these new library spaces will excite and inspire the next generation of readers. 

We’d like to extend a huge thank you to the volunteers at OUP who were involved in putting the libraries together. 

Anneliese Dodds picture sourced from the UK Parliament official website. License CC BY 3.0 Deed | Attribution 3.0 Unported | Creative Commons

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