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10 minutes a day - why reading matters

10 minutes a day spent reading and learning at a young age can change everything in later life. The video below from Save the Children shows how difficult adult life can be without basic reading skills. Part of Save the Children's campaign included encouraging volunteers to sign up to spend time reading with children:

Photo of Louise Prideaux
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How can we encourage parents to spend more time reading with their children?
  • Help them understand the difference they could make to their child in later life
  • Make it easier for them to help (through resources & time-saving tricks)

Can we use technology to make reading easier and more accessible for children and parents?
  • Reading on their Mum's smartphone on the bus on the way to school
  • Audiobooks or apps that provide children whose parents don't have suficient reading skills the opportunity to listen while watching the words of the text

Or should we go back to basics?
  • Providing free secondhand books to families
  • Encouraging kids to read on the back of cereal boxes at breakfast time (cereal brands could publish a new chapter of a story each month)
  • Reading posters at bus stops, leisure centres, supermarkets... maximising every spare minute of a child's time

How can volunteers help when parents don't have the time or resources themselves?
  • Set up volunteer reading groups before and after school, combining childcare and reading while parents are still at work
  • Record audiobooks in languages that are currently under-served

Take a look at this charity in the UK that recruits volunteers to help children with their reading:


Join the conversation:

Photo of Sanjana Ramamurthy

Hi Louise!
Really like your idea and cant agree with you more!
There is no doubt that reading is so essential for children in their early ages.
So we apply your idea in our idea.Our plan is to gather parents or grandparents(especially) who already get certain skills teach the children in the community, which can let parents have enough time to work.
We especially emphasize that the project needs to cover reading as one of the taught skills. Children aging from 2-5 may be unable to read words. But they will be taught alphabets and they will have adults reading for them.

Photo of Meena Kadri

Great share and provocations, Louise! Lot's of great angles for exploration. Let's also share innovative examples of libraries for low-income communities which might inspire some fresh thinking for our upcoming Ideas phase: or or What else do folks here have to add?

Photo of Louise Prideaux

Thank you Meena. Yes, mobile libraries are such a great idea... there must be so many children's books out there collecting dust because the kids have grown up - brilliant if we could encourage people to send them off to a mobile library scheme for less fortunate kids...

Photo of Louise Prideaux

I just saw this project on Kickstarter to build mini free libraries in a park in North East London... a great way of keeping costs low for a library project

Photo of Rocio Fonseca

Thanks Meena!! I really like the idea! A good friend of mine had a project with Singularity University, where they used to teach innovation to low income kids, and help them to develop ideas :) maybe we can do something like: innovation and entrepreneurship without money :)
let's talk!

Photo of Rocio Fonseca

Hi Louise! Thanks for your contribution!
I really like the TIME approach... In general I believe low-income people don't have the time to spend with their kids, because they have to work a lot... or maybe they just don't know how to do it.
Maybe we can think in a place, located near low-income communities were kinds can go... :) Let's think together some idea if you are interested! :)

Photo of Louise Prideaux

Hi Rocio

Yes, that sounds like a great idea - and it could be about a lot more than just reading for the kids. A place for them to play, learn, interact with other children...

I'm very keen to work together. I'm also hoping to organise a meet-up in London in the next few weeks so hopefully that will get more ideas bouncing around. If you are based elsewhere then maybe we could do a Skype call?

Photo of Rocio Fonseca

Hi Louise! Yes! that is the idea! I really would like to create something related with: TIME, EDUCATION and FOOD... I'm thinking in how to integrate these 3 concerns together :)
I'm in Palo Alto, but happy to meet with you in SKYPE! :)