Supporting young people to read for pleasure in difficult times

With data showing that children who enjoy reading are three times more likely to have positive mental wellbeing than children who don’t, the RSL wants to make recreational reading accessible to young people across the UK.

In a year that has challenged us all, we want to recognise the power books have to help us through times of hardship. RSL Fellows and Honorary Fellows – Daljit Nagra, Paul Muldoon and, newly elected in 2021, Emma ThompsonKadija SesayEdmund de WaalSF Said and Patrick Gale are being matched with Year 8/9 classes in some of the most deprived areas of the UK. Each Fellow has selected a text that impacted their life when they were a young person, and copies are being sent out to every pupil in the class, supported by UK publishers. Alongside the books, each student will receive a goody bag to support them in their reading, as well as weekly video updates from their Fellow throughout the summer break.

On returning to school in the autumn, each school’s Fellow will host an informal virtual Book Club to discuss the text and give the young people the opportunity to share their thoughts and opinions.

Schools include Mulberry Schools in London, Kirkby High School in Merseyside, Q3 Academy Tipton in the West Midlands, Newport High in Newport and Malone College in Belfast.


We want to reach as many schools as possible and have saved ONE place on the programme for a school we haven’t yet met!

The brilliant novelist and #ReadingTogether Ambassador Patrick Gale has chosen Kafka’s Metamorphosis – each member of your class will receive a copy of the book, a goody bag, weekly video updates, and a virtual Book Club with Patrick!

If you teach Year 8/9 (12–14-year-olds) in a UK state secondary school and want to be a part of Reading Together register your interest by Thursday 8 July, 6pm.

We are grateful to Old Possum’s Practical Trust for supporting this programme.

Watch the Reading Together welcome films in the playlist below.