Partnering with others to encourage reading

Working with others can help us further our reach and build a shared understanding of important issues. Building partnerships, particularly through the Pearson Foundation, is an important priority for us. The three areas where we look to build partnerships are:

  • Encouraging parents to read with children;
  • Informing the debate;
  • Book gifting.
Encouraging parents to read with children

When parents read aloud to their children, they can have a significant impact on their vocabulary and language development. We work with others to encourage that kind of shared reading.

Case study: Booktime

How do you inspire children to pick up a book and become lifelong readers? Give them a book and engage their parents.

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This was the vision behind Booktime, our major partnership with Booktrust and the UK Department for Education. For the past five years, we have distributed books to five-year-olds in their first term at school, along with tips and materials for both parents and teachers to encourage them to read aloud. People from all parts of Pearson can also have a role, reading to a child one-to-one through an organised volunteer programme. In 2010, we gave our 5 millionth book pack during the launch of the programme in Kew Gardens, London.


Case study: Read for the Record™

Read for the Record, our flagship partnership between the Pearson Foundation and Jumpstart, is a nationwide campaign to promote reading in the United States. Together, we again set a new world record for the largest shared reading experience on a single day, involving over two million people.

Informing the debate

One role that we can play is to help understanding on how reading is perceived by parents and kids. One example of this was a Pearson Foundation survey on perceptions of early childhood education. This concluded that:

1. Most Americans recognise that early childhood literacy is a very important issue that receives too little attention or priority;

2. There is little awareness about the severe and lifelong consequences associated with the lack of early childhood literacy skills – especially the fact that many children never catch up;

3. Most Americans have little understanding of the 'literacy gap' that disproportionately affects children from low-income households;

4. All Americans agree that reading to children under 5 is the best method to develop early childhood literacy skills. What they don't know is a majority of low-income families do not have books for children in their homes.

Book gifting

We work with partners to extend access to books in both the developed and developing world through innovative book gifting schemes and partnerships. Our most significant commitment is to We Give Books.

Case study: We Give Books

Created by Penguin Group and the Pearson Foundation

We Give Books is a digital reading initiative that allows anyone who reads a free book online to also donate a book to a literacy project of their choice. In conjunction with this year's Read for Record campaign, We Give Books also donated more than 200,000 copies of The Snowy Day to young people.