Children being read to

The on-going problem of illiteracy in Nottingham has been highlighted just before City of Literature events begin this month.

“We want every child in the city to be getting free books”

CouncilLor David Mellen

A high percentage of children are heading to secondary school with a reading Level of 3, which is one below the national reading level. Studies show that boys are especially affected.

Nearly nineteen thousand children across the UK are under the average reading age – with Nottingham being singled out as one of the worst for illiteracy rates in the country.

Locations across the UK with highest illiteracy rates in the past 5 years

1) Nottingham

2) Telford and Wrekin

3) Birmingham

4) North Lincolnshire

Steps have been taken to improve this with Nottingham being one of the first cities in the UK to get a Dolly Parton Imagination Library. The library gives children up to the age of five a free book every month, so that they will have a library of 60 books by the time they are doing more reading in school. Councillor David Mellen said that 1500 children across Nottingham are already signed up to the scheme, but they want every child in the city to be getting free books.

Child reading

“We’re aiming to improve illiteracy rates for everyone”

City of Literature Committee

Books aren’t the only way to get children involved with reading and writing. Abigail Parry, a resident poet in Nottingham who recently won the Ballymaloe International Poetry Prize, runs regular events in the city centre to get children involved with literature in different ways. She feels very passionately about how poetry can help to improve illiteracy rates in Nottingham. You can listen to her views on how poetry can help children below.

Abigail Parry, in house poet at the National Video Game Arcade in Nottingham
Abigail Parry, in house poet at the National Video Game Arcade in Nottingham

 

After a long bid to be officially classed as a City of Literature, Nottingham hopes to use its newfound status to improve literacy rates for everyone, encouraging people across the city, and hopefully the country, to get involved more with reading, writing, poetry and all things literature.

Nottingham is one of only three cities in the UK to get the prestigious title of City of Literature, and will be focusing on the rebellious parts of the city’s history, such as Robin Hood and Lord Byron.