London Early Years Foundation (LEYF), the UK's largest childcare charity and social enterprise with an award-winning family of 37 nurseries across London – working to support long-term social change for children and their families, took part in a 100 Million Minutes Reading Challenge Power Hour.

Children from 11 LEYF nurseries engaged in Roger Hargreaves Mr Grumpy Mr Men book, celebrating not only 40 years since the release of the character and some other classic Mr Men characters, but also the power of reading.

Parent and carer engagement, particularly in the Early Years, is still the single most important contributing factor to children’s development, wellbeing and achievement.  

It is suggested that three year old children from disadvantaged backgrounds are as much as 10 months behind their more advantaged peers in vocabulary development and 15 months behind at age five. The power of reading in settings such as nurseries is therefore ever more important to introduce children to the habit of reading, to improve their communication skills, brighten their future prospects and unlock new worlds and possibilities.

June O’Sullivan MBE, CEO of LEYF said: "We are thrilled to be partnering with Achievement for All and promote the importance of reading to children during their Early Years. Teaching a child to read and enjoying books together from an early age is a fantastic way to encourage their understanding of words and language. It’s never too early to start. Books help give children a wider vocabulary as they learn to speak and develop their understanding of others which is why book reading forms a large part of LEYF’s unique pedagogy."

Professor Sonia Blandford, CEO at Achievement for All said: "Literacy is a key driver for social equality. We know that children who are read to regularly by their parents at age five perform better in tests at age 16. We also know that 35% of adults in some of the deprived communities of the UK have the reading skills of an 11 year old. 

"Giving children the reading bug early and getting them excited about reading books and magazines is so important. It will open doors and help them develop through school life and beyond. It is for this reason that nurseries like LEYF who support parents, carers and children to thrive, play a crucial role in the early years. We are thrilled they are supporting the 100 Million Minutes Challenge."

The nurseries involved were: Henry Fawcett Community Nursery, Furze Children's Centre Nursery, Holcroft Community Nursery, Bessborough community Nursery, Warwick Community Nursery, New Cross Community Nursery, Abbots Manor Community nursery, Firestation Community Nursery, Pembury Community Nursery, Playhouse Nursery and Earls Court Community Nursery. 

10 minutes of reading a day can make a huge impact to a child’s development, so imagine what a Power Hour of reading could achieve or even 100 million minutes!

 For further information on Achievement for All’s 100 Million Minutes Reading Challenge visit www.100millionminutes.org.uk  

For further information on LEYF, visit www.leyf.org.uk