ALDI’s Summer Reading Initiative
Supermarket giant, ALDI, launched a campaign to get British children reading during their summer break. To do this, Aldi are giving away over 100,000 books, published by Macmillan Children’s Books, to children. The charity ‘Magic Breakfast‘, which provides free breakfasts to school children in disadvantaged areas, will support the distribution of books countrywide.
Did you know that 1 in 17 children in the UK doesn’t own a single book? That is approximately two children in every class. More than 1 in 4 11-year-olds had below-expected reading levels in 2019. New research, commissioned by ALDI, reveals that 90% of charity professionals believe that children’s reading abilities have declined since the start of the pandemic in 2020. 
The campaign aims to tackle this reading crisis by providing children with books to fall in love with. This will help to get the next generation reading, and also result in better and improved literacy skills.
Big Campaign, Big Names
Manchester United footballer, Marcus Rashford, has thrown himself into supporting ALDI’s reading campaign. Rashford has narrated a short animation commissioned by ALDI entitled, My Reading Journey, Illustrated by Lisa Stickley. This short is an uplifting tale to portray the importance of reading and children’s literature. When discussing the campaign he said, “the escapism and joy you can get from reading could have benefitted me significantly as a child. The issue was always access and representation – two areas that the Marcus Rashford Book Club focuses on. Struggling to put food on the table, there was very little money left for things like books.” 
It’s not just famous footballers that are backing the campaign. As an ambassador for the campaign, Steven Bartlett from Dragons Den, has declared his support for the initiative. He believes that having “books at home whilst growing up is something that a lot of us take for granted. We are unaware of just how many kids in this country aren’t as fortunate.”
Giles Hurley, Chief Executive Officer at Aldi UK and Ireland, has also commented on the initiative, stating: “At ALDI we believe that access to books, just like quality food should be a right, not a privilege; every child deserves to experience the magic of reading. Not only are we donating over 100,000 books to children that need them, but this campaign also aims to help raise awareness of the increasing number of children who don’t have access to their own books at home so those that are in the fortunate position to do so, have the chance to help too.”
Other Book-Based Initiatives
It isn’t just ALDI that is jumping on the book bandwagon in the hope of providing reading materials to children in need. Other charities and big names are getting involved.
BookTrust, the largest reading charity in the UK, have been working with every local authority, via children’s centres, schools, libraries and health professionals to reach families who need them the most. They have a campaign under the umbrella of BookTrust called Bookstart. This initiative gives a free book pack to every baby born in England, Northern Ireland, and Wales.
It also offers further packs at key stages before school, as well as packs for children with additional needs, tips and guidance on reading together, resources, activities, and much more. Bookstart seeks to instill a love of books, storytelling, and rhymes in children as young as possible. 
The Childrens Book Project
The Children’s Book Project is a non-profit organisation. They collaborate with organisations all over the UK to give thousands of new and used books to children and their families.
This year, they are set to gift over 100,000 books to children via their schools and organisations. These books will be donated and rehomed to children and families across the UK. During some research that The Children’s Book Project undertook, 1 in 4 disadvantaged children across the UK has fewer than ten books of their own at home. Their aim is to tackle the attainment gap arising from low book ownership. “We want every child to feel part of their reading community and to identify with books that they have enjoyed.”
Power Of One
Linney is a creative marketing agency that specialises in print management and design. As part of their sustainability initiatives, they recently created the Power1 notebook campaign. Linney are recycling their old paper stock to create beautiful new notebooks. For everyone that is purchased, they are giving another to a child who may otherwise struggle to afford one.
The Power 1 notebooks are already proving a hit with pupils in schools across the East Midlands. Each notebook is distinctively individual, with no two books containing the same paper stock. They’re made from paper offcuts and are sold to clients for use in their offices or as giveaways at events. For each notebook sold, they donate one to a primary school child in local communities.
Each of the child-friendly and colourful notebook designs highlights a critically endangered animal – drawing attention to the need to preserve these creatures in their natural habitat.
How You Can Help
Customers at ALDI are invited to contribute towards donating books. Visit the ALDI website for additional information and to contribute a book to a child in need. A £5 donation will buy about two books for children in need this summer. You can find out how to help out with The Childrens Book Project, as well as the BookTrust over on their websites.
 Research by The National Literacy Trust, 2021.
 Book ownership, literacy engagement and mental wellbeing © National Literacy Trust 2021
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