Literacy is a significant yet relatively hidden problem in the UK. The National Literacy Trust estimates that one in six people in the UK currently has a literacy level below that expected of an 11-year-old, and the country has recently slipped to joint 23rd in the international literacy rankings.
Without literacy, children do not have the communication skills they need to fulfil their potential. They do not gain the knowledge they need to succeed at school, limiting their life chances. Reading for pleasure is a vital part of developing good literacy skills; the OECD ‘Reading for Change’ study found that reading for pleasure was the most important indicator of the future success of a child.
MagAid is a charity that has been set up to promote literacy and the vital role magazines play in improving literacy rates.
Funds raised by MagAid will be channelled into a specially developed version of the Young Readers Programme that targets disadvantaged young people at the start of secondary school, motivating them to read for pleasure and showing them the wide variety of texts available to enjoy. Magazines form a large part of this programme, including the opportunity for the young people to learn how they are produced.
The pilot programmes for the MagAid Young Readers Programme were incredibly successful. The evaluation showed that:
- Double the proportion of young people read books and magazines at least once a week as a result of the project.
- Triple the proportion of young people said they enjoy reading “a lot” or “quite a lot” at the end of the programme.
- Not only do young people enjoy reading more but they also read for longer periods of time as a result of the project.
All profits from the Magazine Diaries project will be donated to MagAid to enable more young people to take part in the Young Readers Programme and discover reading for pleasure through magazines.