Reading is the cornerstone of health and happiness. The publishing industry has a clear incentive to promote literacy and reading for pleasure. However, beyond ensuring a pipeline of future readers, literacy levels can have a huge impact on people’s life chances.
According to research conducted by Save the Children, if every child left primary school with the reading skills they need, the UK economy could be more than £30 billion bigger by 2025.
Low literacy levels also create a barrier to social mobility, as adults without functional literacy earn 16% less than those with functional literacy. This becomes all the more pertinent in light of the UK’s rapidly evolving digital economy.
Conversely, reading for pleasure is a huge driver of social mobility and should be encouraged at every stage of a child’s development.
It is difficult to anticipate the specific skills that will be required in a future workforce: but imagination, empathy and flexibility of mind are transferable qualities derived from literacy and reading for pleasure, that will surely remain valuable for future generations.
Our library partners also play a vital role in the promotion of reading for pleasure and as a crucial access point for books. We work closely with libraries to advocate for them and the part they play in developing a nation of readers.
We also believe that the government could help boost literacy among both children and adults by removing VAT on digital publications, something we are calling for in the Axe the Reading Tax campaign.