At Oxfordshire charity Quest for Learning, we want every child to experience the joy of reading and have the life chances that come from good literacy skills. But sadly many children have few or no books at home and the long summer holidays are approaching. We want to spread some magic for the children we support by sending them home from school this summer with a beautiful new book of their own, specially selected to fit with their reading abilities and their interests. With your support, children like Shaequan (below) can have a summer of adventures through wizardry or nature, deep space or wide oceans!
Who we are and who we support
Not all children flourish at school and sadly one in five children can’t read well by the time they leave primary school. The poorest children typically have the worst educational outcomes at all levels of their schooling which in turn has a dramatic effect on their future. In Oxfordshire, the poorest children end primary school nearly a year behind their peers. This was before the Covid-19 pandemic-related school closures, periods of self-isolation and associated family challenges further affected our children’s learning. We know from national evidence that the attainment gap between disadvantaged and non-disadvantaged children has now widened by 7 months.
But we can change that. We have been supporting primary school children in Oxfordshire for 25 years. Before the pandemic we typically taught 250 children each year, but this year we are expecting to teach over 500 children by the summer. Our programmes are proven to work. In just 6 weeks, the children taking part in our literacy programmes make 14 months’ progress in reading on average - some make as much as 40 months’ progress!
Why do we want to buy books for children?
Research has shown that having even just 2 books in the home is a bigger predictor of academic achievement than parental income, class, or levels of education. It’s also widely documented that during school summer holidays, children tend to experience “summer learning loss.” On average a child loses a month of the knowledge they have gained during the academic year each summer, decreasing their opportunity to hit the ground running when they return to school. Having even just one book will help mitigate some of this learning loss.
And finally, we think that the children we support deserve a treat. And a beautiful book is a perfect way to say well done to them for all their hard work in the classroom.
How you can help
We're asking for your help to buy and deliver high-quality books to 500 disadvantaged children at our partner schools in Oxfordshire, so they can continue to enjoy the benefits and pleasures of reading. A donation of £8 will allow us to carefully select and buy an appropriate book for a child and get it delivered to their school in time for them to take home and read over the summer holidays.
Have we done this before?
Yes! Last year we were delighted to have raised £5070 through our first Keep OxOn Reading Crowdfunder campaign. Thank you so much if you donated to that. We gave 250 children 2 books each and received such wonderful feedback from them and their teachers about the joy it gave them. This year as we are supporting so many more children we have decided to fundraise for one book per child to ensure as many children as possible get a summer treat. Here is Shay with the books we gave her!
What if we raise more than the target?
That would be amazing, as we'd be able to give books to more children! We can also refresh our library to make sure the books we read during our programmes are inspiring and engaging. In particular, we want to purchase more BAME diverse books to ensuring BAME children see themselves represented in our books and to promote diversity and inclusion among all beneficiaries.
How will we thank you?
With every pledge you'll get a personal thank you sent to you through email or with a handwritten card. We'll also give you a shout out via social media, using the hashtag #KeepOxOnReading