More than 1,600 children in South Tyneside do not own a book of their own at home, shocking new research has revealed.
Statistics compiled by the National Literacy Trust, the charity leading the Read North East campaign, show that one in eight of the most disadvantaged children in the region are without a book - 1,660 in the borough.
Further analysis by the charity revealed that 29,674 school children across the region, aged eight to 18, don’t own a book.
The report, Book ownership and reading outcomes, found that children who say they don’t own a single book have much poorer educational outcomes than their book owning peers.
In contrast, children who say they own a book are 15 times more likely to read above the level expected for their age than their peers who don’t own a book (28.8% compared to 1.9%) and are four times less likely to read below the expected level (12.9% compared to 48.1%).
The Read North East campaign encourages parents to talk and read to their babies and children every day to support their literacy skills and give them the best start in life.
Since launching to the public in October 2017, over 3,000 books have been given away to families.
Jonathan Douglas, Director of the National Literacy Trust, said: “Books have the power to transform children’s lives, which is why it is so alarming to discover that almost 30,000 children in the North East don’t have a single book to call their own.
“Getting books in to the hands of children and helping them discover a love of reading is at the very heart of our Read North East campaign.
“Working with our brilliant partners in the region, we are looking forward to gifting more children their first ever book and setting them on the path to a brighter future.”