Raising readers since 1984

Read for Good has a long history. It started off as Readathon back in 1984. As a former teacher and published author, Brough Girling, took a stand against the talk of doom and gloom in the publishing sector in the face of the arrival of the personal computer (with echoes of today, just with different technology!).

Brough invited schools to take part in Readathon – a simple sponsored read in which pupils choose exactly what they want to read in their spare time and ask friends and families to sponsor them to see how much they can read in a few weeks. The money raised would help seriously ill children in hospital. Brough was overwhelmed with the response and hundreds of schools and thousands of pupils set to reading.

Brough had deeply held principles around children’s reading for pleasure – that children should be able to choose what they want to read (and therefore having access to a wide range of books is important), their reading should not be assessed by tests or similar and that all reading should be valued. These all guide Read for Good’s work today. In fact, Brough talks about books as toys for children.

This was before Children in Need, Comic Relief, World Book Day and the National Curriculum. Brough recognised the power of a school community being given a fun challenge, and the natural empathy of children to want to help other children long before many others!

Roald Dahl was Readathon’s first Honorary Chair, and since then, we’ve enjoyed the support of countless authors and illustrators – in fact we’ve worked with nearly every Children’s Laureate since this began in 1999!

Since then, Readathon has continued to support reading for pleasure in schools by providing first class resources along with the all-important motivation. Only now, the money raised helps Read for Good’s hospital programme, providing the best brand-new books and resident storyteller visits for children in the 30 major children’s hospitals across the UK, from Belfast to Bangor, Truro to Aberdeen, Norwich to Newcastle.

We support these flagship programmes with our Brilliant Boxes of Books, giving schools, medical and community settings the chance to apply for a wonderful, curated collection of books targeted to the children they work with. Any group or organisation can have fun reading with our brilliant web-based app, Track My Read (think Strava for readers!). And all this is supported with first-class resources and tools to encourage reading for pleasure – from author events with Michael Rosen and Michael Morpurgo, to Books We Love, school resources, inspiring ideas and of course, our ever popular Storymaker game.

Readathon, Track My Read and Read for Good are all registered trademarks in the UK. As a charity, we have spent decades building our expertise, listening to educators, librarians, parents, medical professionals and of course children and young people themselves, to create compelling and engaging tools and resources to support reading for pleasure. We ask that you use our resources freely, but please let us know you’re using them and email your feedback, successes and learnings to reading@readforgood.org. And please help us to continue our work by donating here if you can.