Rogan’s Books encourages eager readers

Eager readers at Rogan's Books

The award-winning Rogan’s Books in Bedford is among eight bookshops around the country, selected to take part in a summer initiative to turn reluctant readers into eager readers.

The Booksellers Association/Egmont Eager Readers Project funds a partnership between bookshops and local schools to inspire children to read for pleasure.

Rogan’s Books is partnering with Queens Park Academy and their first session took place on Monday (1 July).

Each child will be given a £10 Book Token each week for six weeks and invited to choose any book they like from the participating bookshop. The parents will receive a £10 coffee shop voucher for a local cafe each week to enable the family to make an outing of the visit.

In return, the parents will commit to reading to their children every day for 20 minutes, for six weeks. At the end of the six weeks, the families will be given a ‘thank you’ Book Token.

“We worked with Queens Park Academy to identify families who would both benefit from the programme and engage,” explained bookshop owner, Rachael Rogan.
“The programme involves each family coming to the shop once a week for 6 weeks; I will help them select a book that inspires them to read, then take them to a local coffee shop to enjoy reading in a relaxed atmosphere (today we went to Cafe Crema).
“It was amazing – we had such a brilliant morning. We welcomed families to the shop who had never been in.
“On the walk to the cafe the kids’ heads were buried in the books and the parents were all really enthusiastic.
“Each family receives a free book each week; they completed a questionnaire today and will complete the same questionnaire at the end to see if it has changed their reading habits.”

The intention – proven by previous research projects – is that those six weeks sharing the experience of reading together will transform the parents’ attitudes to reading to their child and the children’s attitudes to reading for pleasure.

Eager readers Rogans Books

The partnership is based on the far-reaching research work done by Egmont with Foyles (Print Matters More) and WH Smith (The Reading Magic Project) which proved the vital role of being read to and free choice in inspiring children to read for pleasure.

Meryl Halls, Managing Director at The Booksellers Association, said: “We are thrilled to be working with Egmont in making this project a reality for independent bookshops, having seen the massive impact Foyles and WHS had with their projects.

“We are looking forward to seeing the bookshop projects come to fruition and to hearing from the bookshops about the readers they’ve created.”

Cally Poplak, Managing Director, said: “The quality of submissions [from bookshops] was truly inspiring. All eight bookshops demonstrated a deep commitment to engaging disadvantaged families and families from ethnic minorities, and a thoughtful understanding of Egmont’s research methodology and how to roll it out in their local community.”