Children’s literacy efforts received a huge boost yesterday in the United Kingdom with the announcement that McDonald’s Happy Meals will start including books instead of toys . A previous pilot program in conjunction with the National Literacy Trust, has given away 9 million books already and has been well received by parents.
The plan is to give away 15 million fiction and non-fiction titles to families over the next two years. McDonald’s will partner with publishers, retailers, and literacy organizations. According to National Literacy’s website, one in three children do not own a book, and this type of campaign “will be hugely effective at reaching those who aren’t introduced to reading at home.”
The Happy Readers campaign will run for five weeks and customers who purchase Happy Meals will receive non-fiction books from the Amazing World series published by DK. Book topics include Stars and Planets, Oceans, and Big Cats and come with stickers and puzzles as well. Parents were supportive after the pilot program with 9 out of 10 saying they would like to see more book promotions.
National Literacy Director Jonathan Douglas has this to say on the website:
“We are delighted that McDonald’s is extending its commitment to giving families access to quality, affordable books. Our research tells us that there is a very clear link between book ownership and children's future success in life so it is very concerning that one in three children in the UK don’t own a book and half of kids don’t really enjoy reading. Initiatives like McDonald’s Happy Readers campaign play an important role in getting more books into the hands of children and inspiring families to read together as a fun and interactive pastime. With its scale and ability to reach people all across the UK, McDonald’s commitment to books has the potential to make a real difference.”
I have not been able to find information on plans to do the same in the United States. Would you like fries or a side of literacy with your child's next Happy Meal?
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