- The Chase Rewarding Futures school libraries programme has transformed reading spaces in 15 Manchester primary schools and reached an estimated 6,512 children
- Recent research revealed that one in four (26 per cent) parents and carers have asked their children to borrow more books from their school library*
- Children at Manchester schools have benefitted from enhanced reading spaces and new digital packages including electronic reading resources
- In 2023, Chase committed a further £1 million to the initiative with the programme expanding its reach to seven new regions, transforming 156 primary school libraries and providing around 62,000 children with library spaces
London, Monday 11 September, 2023 – Over 6,500 children at 15 primary schools in Manchester have opened improved school libraries and enhanced reading spaces as part of the Chase Rewarding Futures school libraries programme. Three primary schools have benefitted from a complete transformation of their current reading space, and a further 12 primary schools have received enhanced reading zones including modular furniture and a diverse selection of books.
Recent research from Chase and the National Literacy Trust revealed that a quarter (26 per cent) of parents and carers have asked their children to borrow more books from their school library, and one in five (20 per cent) said they were spending less on books due to the cost of living crisis*, underlining the important role libraries play in giving children access to books. The Chase Rewarding Futures initiative aims to improve access to literacy resources by transforming underused reading spaces into places for inspiration and creativity. The commitment from Chase is in partnership with the National Literacy Trust, and supported by Penguin Random House UK.
Beyond the reading space transformations, teachers at the schools will benefit from access to bespoke training to support the development of a strong reading culture, and skills that will enable them to maximise the reading spaces as hubs for imagination and creativity. Families and carers of children at the schools will receive support and advice on how to encourage their children with reading outside the classroom, as well as invitations to special community and school literacy events including author readings.
Afsheen Bassirian, English Lead, Peel Hall Primary School, Manchester, commented, “Our school community is more than thrilled with our new library! It is more than we hoped for. Our library will do more than complement our school curriculum, it will break down the barriers that prevent our children from developing a passion and lifelong love of reading.”
Emma Taylor, Project Manager, School programmes, at the National Literacy Trust, said, “Peel Hall Primary School’s new library is a wonderful space, packed full of imagination and wonder. At a time when as many as 1 in 7 primary schools are without a library, it is fantastic to see the school so excited and engaged with their new space. We know that the benefits of reading for pleasure at primary school benefits children’s well-being, improves their academic performance and their chances of doing well in life.”
Deborah Keay, U.K. CMO at Chase, added: “With household finances still under pressure, we know that parents and carers are relying on school libraries to provide access to books, safe spaces where children can relax, lose themselves in their imaginations and develop crucial literacy skills. Our programme aims to help more children discover the joys of reading, inspire a life-long love of books, and ultimately unlock a child’s future potential.”
Building on the first year of the programme, Chase Rewarding Futures is expanding its reach to seven new regions and transforming another 156 libraries to support communities with the tools and resources they need to help nurture reading skills. This year’s programme includes:
- Providing 62,000 children in underserved areas with transformed library spaces designed to enhance their reading experiences
- Access to a diverse range of books donated by Penguin Random House UK and educational technology such as audiobook players and an audiobook collection
- Equipping 312 primary school teachers with bespoke training to support them with implementing a reading for pleasure strategy and creating powerful reading role models throughout their school community
- Schools involved in year one of the programme will receive an enhanced digital package which they can select based on requirements needed at their school
The programme builds on a tried-and-tested model pioneered by the National Literacy Trust and Penguin Random House UK, Puffin World of Stories, which addresses the key issues facing many underserved primary school libraries including lack of time and skills and lack of budget to buy new books.
Chase is part of the Primary School Library Alliance (PSLA) which has pledged to transform 1,000 school libraries and support up to 500,000 pupils’ attainment and wellbeing, alongside the National Literacy Trust and Penguin Random House UK. In May 2023, Her Majesty Queen Camilla opened the 500th library transformed as part of the PSLA.