About Us

About Us

Why we exist

World Literacy Foundation (WLF) aims to eradicate illiteracy by 2040. UK Reads – a WLF initiative focuses directly on the children impacted by illiteracy in the United Kingdom.

This initiative provides children from disadvantaged backgrounds access to suitable, fun and engaging free books.

New scientific research confirms that a child’s early years brain development shapes the adults they become, the success they achieve and the contributions they make to the economy and society.

Research has also identified the “word gap” which means many children who grow up in low-income families enter school with substantially smaller vocabularies than their classmates. This disadvantage leads to further disparities in achievement and success over time, from academic performance, persistence to earnings and family stability, even 20 to 30 years later.

UK Reads focuses on early intervention so that every child has the strongest chance to reach their full potential.


To promote reading skills and literacy for children, beginning at birth to nineteen years old and to support parents to become their child’s first teacher


For every child in the UK to have access to free books and the literacy support they need by engaging and supporting families to understand the critical importance of childhood literacy and take a proactive role in their child’s reading development.

Core Values

We are committed to making books a part of every child’s life from birth.
We are committed to supporting families playing a central role in their child’s early language and literacy.
We are committed to collaborative work with parents, partner organisations and community groups.
We are committed to financial sustainability.

High Profile Supporters UK Reads

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Emma Gannon

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Dame Helen Mirren

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Sarah Turner

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Bolu Babalola

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Tom McLaughlin

Our UK story so far…

In 2005, the World Literacy Foundation started the transportation of children’s books to Africa and a few years later we expanded our programs to the United States, United Kingdom and Australia. 

In 2012 we began the World Literacy Summit at Oxford University, bringing together the global literacy community to build greater collaboration and partnerships.  

Due to its success, the summit was held again in 2014, 2018 and in 2020 we moved to a Covid-19 safe online conference. 

As a response to the vital need for UK children to have access to books at home, supporting parents to become their child’s first teacher and literacy support, UK Reads was launched in 2020. Our UK services will reach 2000+ children this year.

Our global impact

In 2019, the team reached more than 315,000 children and young people with our services in the US, Australia, UK, Africa, and Latin America – all thanks to generous donations and volunteer support.  

Literacy is the pathway to young people reaching their full potential. 

UK Annual Report

girl reading literacy books in uk reads

“Reading skills are the key determining factor for a child’s future academic success and reaching their full potential”

About Us - Girls reading literacy

Research behind UK Reads

  • Children are reading less than ever before, research reveals

  • Three in 10 UK children 'own no books'

  • New Report Shows Decline in Children’s Reading for Pleasure and Daily Reading Habits

  • Only half of pre-school children being read to daily, UK study finds

Our Partners

Lions International emblem
UK Reads Partnerships
Awesome books logo
Scribbler Zone logo
Books Glorious Books logo
Concord Youth Centre

At Awesome Books we are the no 1 ethical bookseller in the UK. We are proud to support the World Literacy Foundation together with a range of literacy charities in the UK, providing high quality books for vulnerable and lower income households and encouraging interest in reading from the earliest ages.

Mubin Ahmed

Director, Awesome Books

The Team

Andrew Kay

Andrew Kay

CEO & Founder
Caroline Burkie

Caroline Burkie

Head of UK and EU
Annie Barnden

Annie Barnden

Grants and Project Director for UK Reads
Rebecca Deeny

Rebecca Deeny

Social Media and PR officer
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Get in touch


Suite 225 – 46 Eversholt Street
London NW1 1DA United Kingdom
Tel: +44 7 842930125
[email protected]
Charity No. 1154264

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