Getting books into the hands of children is a key driver behind Read Manchester, the city’s reading campaign.  As well as encouraging children and families to join their local library, we’re also keen to work with schools to develop their school libraries and their reading offer.  Read Manchester recently facilitated a book donation of 450 books from AQA to Cheetwood Primary school. Here’s how it happened:

Teresa Edwards, Project and Implementation Manager: 

I work for AQA, which most people know as a provider of GCSEs and A-levels (along with a range of other qualifications). What many people don’t realise is that we are also an education charity with a core purpose of helping young people realise their potential.

I started organising collections for World Book day three years ago after reading a report which said that over 40,000 children in the Greater Manchester area didn’t own a single book. In the first two years AQA colleagues donated around 550 books which were distributed to primary schools in Manchester and this year we collected a huge 450 books, which were delivered to Cheetwood Primary School on World Book Day. The books ranged from nursery picture books to novels for older children, along with non-fiction titles including science and history.

The school was delighted (and a bit shocked I think at the number of books!) and I was really pleased to hear that the books will be added to the re-vamped library for everyone to enjoy. It was lovely to hear that the children enjoy reading so much as it was a very important part of my own childhood and I honestly believe that if you learn to love reading at a young age it’s something that will be with you for life.

Surraya Badar, Year 1 teacher:

Reading is a high priority at Cheetwood Primary.  Over 80% of the pupils have EAL therefore developing a love for reading is integral to their literacy development and understanding of vocabulary.  We currently run many initiatives in our school to support reading and promote reading for pleasure.  We organise a termly book swap fair, where pupils and parents can pick up books to read and enjoy. Each class organises workshops to support parents to promote a love of reading.

As we have recently reorganised our library to make it more accessible for all our pupils we can add some of the books from this amazing donation to our collection.  All classes have a weekly library session – they can choose and take a book from the school library. In addition to this, within each class we have Interactive reading areas therefore we can replenish class libraries with this donation too.

This generous donation will help us to continue the important work we do around reading and have a positive impact on pupil learning.