Every year the shared reading charity hosts a book giveaway marathon on social media to celebrate World Book Day. This year the giveaways included children’s books on how to write stories and poems, to boost children entering the inaugural Reading Force Writing Competition.
World Book Day is an eagerly anticipated event, enjoyed by children up and down the UK and this year is its 25th anniversary. Reading Force partnered with WBD to give military children their £1 book tokens which can be swapped for one of the special WBD books or used towards buying another book. The charity is including the £1 tokens in its book parcels sent to tri-service serving and veteran families throughout March.
Why do we need World Book Day?
- Reading for pleasure is the single biggest indicator of a child’s future success, more than family circumstances, parents’ educational background or income (OECD and others)
- Reading for pleasure is in decline and at its lowest level since 2005 (National Literacy Trust)
- One in five 11-year-olds move to secondary school unable to read to expected standards
(Centre for Youth and Education and Sheffield Hallam)
Alongside the book giveaways, military families sent photographs of their children dressed up as book characters to be shared within the Reading Force community on the charity’s Facebook page. Characters included Ratty from Wind in the Willows, Harry Potter, and Elmer the elephant!
For the Reading Force writing competition, members of Forces families – from infants to grandparents – have been invited to write about ‘My Forces Life’ for the chance to win prizes including £100 of books and have their stories published in a special anthology.
The competition deadline is 27 March 2022.
Reading Force see this competition as an opportunity for families to have their creative say.
Participants can write up to 500 words about Forces life. This can be fiction or true-life writing, and in any form – a story, a few diary entries, a poem, or a joint piece of writing between family members.
The remit is broad with families having the freedom to express whatever they wish to about being part of the military community. Children may write a fantasy of what they imagine their Forces parent gets up to in their day job! Parents may like to get down on paper the beginning of the memoir they have always wanted to write. An adult in the family could pen a joint piece of writing with a child.
Reading Force have been bowled over by the entries received to date:
“We’ve been deeply moved by the poems and stories submitted so far, and also made to laugh by the bold humour of both military children and adults. It’s been a real insight and shows this is a creative platform families deserve to have and fill. We knew from the scrapbooks we regularly receive that the community would have a lot to say and write, and they have impressively risen to the challenge. We’re very much looking forward to reading the next entries and welcome anyone who is thinking about entering to do so!”
Hattie Gordon, Reading Force
The competition is generously sponsored by Bolt Burdon Kemp Solicitors, and Hachette Children’s Group.
“Bolt Burdon Kemp support Reading Force and the work they do to enable military families to spend time together during challenging times. We know how invaluable connection is during times of separation for parents and children. We wanted to do more to help promote this wonderful and worthwhile charity and we are privileged to sponsor the My Forces Life writing competition. The competition entries will offer a unique insight into Forces Life and we are excited to see what stories are shared.”
Victoria Sedgwick, Senior Solicitor-Advocate, Bolt Burdon Kemp Solicitors
Hilary Murray Hill, CEO Hachette Children’s Group says: “We are delighted to support this initiative from Reading Force and supply the book prizes for the young winners. Encouraging children to read, and write, for pleasure is at the heart of what we do and all we publish and we hope as many children and young people as possible will want to engage with the competition.”