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Gloucestershire Business News

Record number of young readers visit Not So Secret Book Clubs

During the Easter holidays local reading project Read with me treated children to four Not So Secret Book Club events in Gloucestershire.

Over 300 children attended the events at Robinswood Hill Country Park and Wotton Community PARC over the two-week break, supported by volunteers from Gloucestershire Gateway Trust.

The aim was to boost children's engagement with reading after 12 months of erratic education due to the pandemic.

Not So Secret Book Clubs pop up during the school holidays to ensure all children have access to books and fun activities. Children are able to take home free books and take part in craft activities and painting, as well as more energetic activities like tag rugby.

In addition to the events during school holidays, Read with me also provided 1,400 books for an ambitious Easter food project in Gloucester for families receiving free school meals.

In term time, Read with me volunteers work in Gloucester schools, giving more than 700 children a week the opportunity to read one-to-one with an adult, which has a significant impact on child literacy and confidence levels.

Read with me founder Linda Cohen said: "It was fantastic to see so many children at our Not So Secret Book Clubs. The feedback from parents was incredible.

"Children have missed being able to be involved in activities outside of school and it can be a real challenge for parents to entertain children during the holidays without spending a fortune.

"Not So Secret Book Clubs allow us to continue the work we do in schools during the holidays by making sure all children have access to books to develop their love of reading."

According to Read with me, children who are unable to read properly by the age of seven never catch up. One in five children leaves primary school unable to read. These children do less well at school, have dramatically reduced employment choices and earning opportunities, and a greater chance of going to prison. The UK has the worst literacy rates in the developed world.

Mark Gale, chief executive of Gloucestershire Gateway Trust which supports Read with me, said: "The statistics about UK child literacy are shocking, and we know that being able to read well has a huge impact on children's wider education and future prospects.

"We're proud to be supporting the great work of Read with me in the schools we work alongside and I've just signed up to be a volunteer myself. I would urge anyone with free time to consider whether they could give an hour or two a week to volunteer for this vital literacy project."

Not So Secret Book Clubs couldn't happen without the support of generous sponsors and funders - to find out more about Read with me and how your company could support its work please contact Linda Cohen or Rachel Corcoran at  or 

To find out more or to volunteer, visit 

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