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We all know the importance of reading.

It can open up a world of new ideas, stories and opportunities. It can broaden horizons and education and increase development and communication and social skills.

Promoting a love for reading at a young age can help children become readers for life – something that should never be underestimated.

We might know all the benefits. But that doesn’t stop worrying statistics from the National Literacy Trust.

Did you know that only one in two children and young people said they enjoy reading or that one in 15 children and young people aged eight to 18 do not have a book of their own at home?

At Unity Schools Partnership, we place literacy among our top priorities as we know there is a clear correlation between promoting a love of reading at a young age and success as you go through education and then post-education employability skills.

Of course, it is easy to write this in a newspaper column.

But our schools are also constantly putting this into practice, as seen by a number of examples recently (photos above).

One senior staff member at Tollgate Primary School in Bury St Edmunds recently instigated a literacy fundraiser that encouraged pupils to become ‘book millionaires’.

They wanted pupils to read for 10,000,000 seconds over a month and also turned the event into a sponsored one to raise money for more school reading books.

Even better, they encouraged staff members, governors and families to take part in pursuit of the grand total – something that was impressively surpassed before the month was out.

It was a great way to engender a love of reading and also promote reading in both the classroom and at home.

In keeping with one of the key aspects of our trust – supporting each other – one primary school has seen such a surge in reading among pupils that they have imparted lessons learned to other schools within our Trust.

And just last week, County High School in Bury held a Book Mastermind and invited six feeder primary schools, in and out of the Trust, to compete in an event that I know impressed all.

I’m also reminded of one of our headteachers who spends his lunchtime reading with a few younger pupils who perhaps need that extra support.

It is about going the extra mile to ensure our young minds have a love of learning that helps them for the rest of their lives.

By Tim Coulson, Chief Executive, Unity Schools Partnership