Literature Matters: Reading Together

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. Prominent RSL Fellows and Honorary Fellows – including those newly elected in 2021 – will be matched with year 8/9 classes in the most deprived areas of the UK. The Fellow will select a text that impacted their life when they were a young person, and physical copies will be 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 (from a notebook, to pen and bookmark) 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. The students and their families will also be offered free spaces at the RSL’s events. The students and their families will also be offered free spaces at the RSL’s events. The RSL aims for those young people who are experiencing the most significant ‘learning gap’ due to the pandemic to be supported in reading purely for enjoyment, and finding their own way into the UK’s literary culture.

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

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

Watch the Reading Together welcome videos below.