Save the Children

The charity has released a video that puts viewers in the position of someone who is not able to read as part of its Read On. Get On campaign

A still from Save the Children's new video
A still from Save the Children's new video

What is it?

As part of the Read on. Get On campaign, which has been launched by a coalition of charities, businesses and authors to encourage professionals and parents to help children improve their reading, Save the Children has released a video that illlustrates the impact that not being able to read well can have on someone's life.

Called Ten Minutes a Day Could Change Everything, the video begins with a tired dad refusing his small child’s request to read a book with him and opting to watch television instead. The viewer is then taken through a series of flash frames of moments in the child’s life as he grows up.

The words on a teenage love letter are replaced with "Ha ha, loser who can’t read"; the items on the menu at a Chinese restaurant are replaced with "What is this?" and "Is it chicken?"; and a bill reads "Maybe get your wife to read this for you". As the film continues, the problems get more serious, with the instructions on the side of a medicine bottle reading "You'll kill him. You're a danger to your own son". However, at the very end the video flashes back to the original scene, where the father changes his mind and decides to spend time reading with his son.

Why now?

A new report by the charity has revealed strong links between poor literacy, unemployment and poverty. It found that two in five poorer children in the UK left primary school without being able to read well last year. And of European countries, it says, only Romania has a bigger gap in reading attainment between the best and worst 10-year-olds.

The campaign focuses on boys in particular because the report shows that the reading gap between boys and girls is one of the widest in the developed world – boys are twice as likely as girls to fall below a basic level of reading competence.

What else?

The charity has also launched an online petition that calls on politicians to ensure by 2025 that every child in the UK is a confident reader at age 11. It has been promoting the campaign on Twitter using the hashtag #ReadonGeton, and several popular YouTube bloggers have made videos to show their support.

Has it been covered in the media?

The Read On. Get On campaign and its research have been covered in the Daily Mail, The Daily Telegraph, The Independent and The Guardian and on the ITV News.

What the charity says

Justin Forsyth, chief executive of Save the Children, says: "Read On. Get On is not just about teachers, charities and politicians – it’s about galvanising the nation so that parents, grandparents and volunteers play their part in teaching children to read. We want every child to be given a fair and equal chance to learn to read well, regardless of their background."

Third Sector verdict

The video has been created by the agency Don't Panic! in the same time-lapse style as its previous video for the charity – the Most Shocking Second a Day film, which was launched by the charity in March to encourage people to support children in Syria. Judging by the almost 30,000 views the new film has had in less than three days, this is a successful formula. In a short space of time, the video gives the viewer a glimpse of what life is like for someone who can't read, summing up the essence of the campaign without the need for too much detail.

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