More than 50 businesses, including Facebook, Amazon and Experian have signed this year’s Vision for Literacy Business Pledge, orchestrated by the National Literacy Trust (NLT).
The Vision for Literacy Business Pledge, launched last year, asks businesses in the UK to help tackle low literacy in the country on both a local and national level. The organisation said up to 35% of adults in the UK’s most deprived areas lack the literacy skills expected of an 11-year-old.
A total of 50 businesses have signed up to take part in 2017, up from 41 in 2016, and the new signatories include Facebook, Amazon, Experian, Lonely Planet, The Quarto Group and the Football Association. They join existing members like PwC, McDonalds and British Land.
Jonathan Douglas, director of the NLT, said: “Businesses play a vital part in helping improve literacy in the UK, increasing our economic competitiveness and improving social mobility. The UK’s low literacy levels are holding our economy back – if all children left primary school with good literacy skills, our future workforce and economy would be far stronger as a result.”
Initiatives launched by companies that signed the pledge include McDonald’s ‘Happy Readers’ campaign, where it gave away book extracts with Happy Meals, and KPMG hosting reading clubs in local primary schools.
NLT is also a member of the Read On. Get On. coalition, which is aiming to get all children enjoying reading by 2025.
Last year the coalition released a report saying only 66% of 11-year-olds could read at the expected level for their age compared to 80% in 2015, showing a “sharp decline in ability”.
The NLT created the Vision for Literacy Business Pledge with the National Literacy Forum, whose members include the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists, The Reading Agency, Save the Children’s and the Publishers Association.