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02 July 2021 | Community

The Warehouse donates 60,000 books to support disadvantaged youth

The Warehouse has donated more than 60,000 children's books to vulnerable communities across Aotearoa and the Pacific Islands through four of its charity partners; Duffy Books in Homes, Women's Refuge, Variety – the Children's Charity and The Salvation Army.

A report commissioned by the Ministry of Education in 2018 showed a decline in reading for enjoyment among young people in New Zealand, with disadvantaged communities disproportionately impacted by literacy rates.

The Warehouse Chief Product Officer Tania Benyon says reading is an essential part of building a strong foundation in both school and society.

"Research has shown that 1 in 4 adults in New Zealand have literacy difficulties which impact their everyday lives"

"Increasingly, many young people are choosing to reach from their phone and scroll through social media rather than read books in their downtime."

Benyon says that along with improved educational outcomes, book ownership and reading for enjoyment has the potential to improve well-being, particularly in children.

"We want every child in New Zealand to have access to books of their own, and we hope that through this donation and the support of our incredible community partners, more young people can start to build a foundation to further develop their literacy skills, embrace creativity and develop new knowledge."

Former Silver Fern and General Manager of Duffy Books in Homes, Linda Vagana, sees firsthand the impact that lack of book ownership can have for young people.

"The visibility of books and a culture of reading has not been a positive one for New Zealand. The latest international literacy rankings show our tamariki dropping eight places to thirty-third out of fifty countries.

"We have a responsibility to ensure every child in New Zealand has the basic tools to continue their learning.

"Reading is essential to opening doors of opportunity; and encouraging a love of books from an early age promotes communication and confidence."

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