Still time to help local school pupils’ literacy skills by donating to MP Steve Barclay’s ‘Read to Succeed’ campaign

Wayne Eady

Wayne Eady - Credit: Archant

Local MP Steve Barclay is asking can you spare a ‘fiver’ to help his campaign to improve literacy amongst the area’s school children this summer.

Fenland Youth Council

Fenland Youth Council - Credit: Archant

His ‘Read to Succeed’ Campaign which ran throughout June is within touching distance of its final target to provide a reading book for all 1,285 Year 4 pupils in his North East Cambs constituency.

So far generous businesses and individuals have donated 1,026 books from a wish list drawn up by teachers and librarians.

The campaign ended yesterday (Thursday) but there is still time to buy a book at a cost of around £4.99 to £5.99.

Mr Barclay said: “I’m really grateful to all those people and businesses who have donated books already. It has been a fantastic response. But we still need around 200 more books to ensure every pupil receives a book ready for the summer holiday.

Galaxy books

Galaxy books - Credit: Archant

“The books on the reading list cost on average £4.99, which makes them affordable for most people. If you buy them from places such as Tesco in March and Wisbech, Toppings Bookshop in Ely and WH Smith in Wisbech you can leave the books there as they are also collection points, which saves the worry of posting your donation, or dropping it off at the constituency office in March.”

In the back of every book will be a library token which children can take to their local library and take part in the Reading Agency’s Summer Reading Challenge.

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The challenge encourages children to read six books of their choice throughout the school summer holiday and once completed, children will receive a certificate at an awards ceremony. But this is not all, there are also prizes on offer for the schools with the most children who complete the challenge.

Prizes which can be won include: Free screening of The BFG at The Light, Wisbech; free fun swimming session at a local swimming pool; PLUS individual winners will win a tour around the Houses or Parliament

Mr Barclay is hoping that if the campaign succeeds in encouraging more children across the constituency to take part in the holiday reading scheme then it will bring investment from the Reading Agency and lottery funding for next year for further literacy initiatives.

“The Reading Agency invests in literacy initiatives elsewhere in urban areas but not in rural areas like ours. They are hoping this campaign can be used as a pilot scheme that can be rolled out in other rural areas. So this is not just a one-off this could have long term benefits, but we need people to donate books, and for parents to then encourage their children to sign up for the reading scheme.”

Publishers Galaxy have also donated 1,300 of their adult Quick Reads and these will be going out free to parents and carers of all Year 4 pupils.

“It is more likely that children will read and love books if their parents enjoy reading. However, a lot of parents say they haven’t the time, and for some tackling a big novel is daunting, especially for those who have English as a second language. These short stories are a good way of encouraging parents back into reading there by becoming role models for their children.”

For details of books on the wishlist and how to donate visit: