Children and parents urged to 'share a million stories' to mark World Book Day
By Tom Horton, PA
The charity behind World Book Day is encouraging people to help a nationwide effort to "share a million stories".
The challenge involves reading or being read to for at least ten minutes, with every person who hears the story counting towards the one million target.
At the beginning of World Book Day more than 180,000 stories have already been "shared" as part of the campaign, which began on February 27 and runs until March 29.
Research by the National Literacy Trust, published on Thursday, shows that 25.8% of children said they read daily in their free time in 2019, which is the lowest level recorded by the charity since 2005.
Events have been taking place across the country in locations including Middlesbrough Town Hall Theatre and Glasgow Royal Concert Hall as part of the Share A Million Stories campaign.
Another event is taking place at the National Cycling Centre in Manchester on Thursday, which will be attended by author Cressida Cowell and TV presenter Dermot O'Leary.
The Duchess of Cornwall will also visit a London primary school on Thursday with author Anthony Horowitz, who created the Alex Rider children's books.
Cassie Chadderton, chief executive of World Book Day, said: "Year on year, the evidence grows that World Book Day is having a positive impact on the reading behaviour of our children and young people.
"By putting more books directly into the hands of children and young people and, at the same time, encouraging everyone, everywhere to get into the habit of sharing stories regularly, World Book Day is helping create readers for life."