Dame Helen Mirren has become an ambassador of the World Literacy Foundation's (WLF) UK initiative, UK Reads, and has added her support to its Christmas appeal.
"Learning to read is such a fundamental skill and sets children up to excel at school and in life, but illiteracy is a reality for many," said Mirren. "I am proud to support UK Reads in its aim to bring the joy and power of reading to UK children and their families who don’t have any books at home."
UK Reads is an initiative of the World Literacy Foundation, an international charity working in the UK, US, Africa, South America and Australia to eradicate illiteracy by 2040. It supports children and young people living in the most deprived areas of the UK to "escape into stories and experience the fun of reading" by providing free books and literacy support. Citing research from the NLT, it said one in five children struggle to read and write in the UK while 8.5 million adults in the UK are illiterate.
In aid of the appeal, head of UK at WLF, Caroline Burkie, has encouraged donations of £3 by texting "UKREADS" to 70450 or visiting the UK Reads website. She said: "Many of the families we need to reach with literacy support are the same families struggling to provide their children with a warm meal. This Christmas, for many children, the books they receive will be their only Christmas present. Just £3 will help provide a child with a bedtime story filled with adventure and hope."