Jack Maunder holding his 'Bounce back Jack' children's book.

In collaboration with children’s author and @ExeterChiefs rugby star Jack Maunder, children in Exeter will take part in UK Reads Story Box Project.

Literacy charity UK Reads holds a special Story Box Project with Exeter Chiefs rugby star and children’s co-author of ‘Bounce Back Jack’, Jack Maunder.

On 6th and 20th of October 2021, 15 children and their families will join Jack and the UK Reads literacy team at Sandy Park. The sessions will deliver fun and engaging literacy activities that aim to increase enjoyment and confidence of literacy and develop a regular reading routine at home.

UK Reads supports children and families most in need to improve literacy skills through fun interactive experiences. In response to reach children whose education was most effected by school closures; the charity designed the bespoke Story Box Project to appeal to children struggling with literacy but who thrive in an active environment.

Recent school and library closures have shone a stark light on the literacy gap faced by children from lower income areas. 1 in 3 children are now living in poverty and it has been reported that some children will have fallen up to a year behind academically.* 

In 2020 Jack Maunder released his uplifting book ‘Bounce Back Jack’ to help children during the winter lockdown to build resilience and encourage a positive mindset.

Jack Maunder said “For those struggling with their reading and writing everything can seem like an uphill battle. I want kids to know, that with a little perseverance, they can achieve anything. I got involved with UK Reads to help give a little inspiration and encouragement to children who need it. I can’t wait for the literacy sessions to start. It doesn’t matter who you are, or where you come from, you can fulfil your dreams.”

Programme Manager for UK Reads, Annie Barnden said: “Reading for enjoyment is the single biggest indicator that children will succeed at school and later in life. Due to pandemic school closures, unexpected financial pressures on families and lack of resources at home, children are struggling to engage and ‘catch up’ with their learning. UK Reads supports the whole family involving parents in the workshops so that they can experience the joy of reading together and support their child to reach their full potential. It’s fantastic to collaborate with Jack to support children’s literacy skills and their wellbeing.”

UK Reads’ offers a multi layered approach of providing free books, resources and literacy projects to provide the tools, inspiration and knowledge that a family needs to begin their reading journey in the years that matter most for their children.


About The Story Box Project

UK Reads Story Box Project supports families with online and in person story time sessions.

 The interactive story sessions are designed in collaboration with children’s authors

  • Engage reluctant or struggling readers aged 6 – 12 years old. 
  • Improve levels of literacy and confidence.
  • Provide an interactive environment to promote the enjoyment of reading.
  • Provide a supportive learning environment for parents and children.
  • Increase book ownership.
  • Encourage a reading routine at home.
  • Promote inclusivity and support family and child wellbeing.

*National Literacy Trust. 1 in 3 children are now living in poverty and it has been reported that some children will have fallen up to a year behind academically. * 

About UK Reads – www.ukreads.org

As a response to the vital need for UK children to have access to books at home, supporting parents to become their child’s first teacher and literacy support, UK Reads was launched in 2020.

About the World Literacy Foundation

The World Literacy Foundation is a global non-profit organization working to ensure that every young individual regardless of geographic location has the opportunity to acquire literacy skills to reach their full potential, succeed at school and beyond.

We provide free access to quality education materials and innovative solutions that target wide-scale illiteracy. Since 2013, we are providing our support services in remote communities and disadvantaged areas in the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, South America, and Africa.

The World Literacy Foundation (WLF) have been providing our Sun Books tablets, along with teacher training and support in Africa for over 5 years. The literacy of the children has greatly increased since the Sun Books were introduced, and we now work with dozens of sub-Saharan schools.

Why literacy?

Most people take literacy skills for granted but there are over 750 million illiterate people who cannot read a single word and more than 2 billion who struggle to read and write a sentence! Illiterate people experience difficulties with simple everyday tasks like reading the newspaper, understanding a traffic sign, or filling in a job application. The lack of reading and writing skills often results in the marginalization of low-skilled individuals from active participation in their communities and societies.

Literacy is the key to unlock better opportunities in life and all children deserve the opportunity to acquire literacy skills from an early age so they can enjoy lifelong learning.

How we do it?

  • We provide books and educational resources, so the children can discover the joy of reading.
  • We provide tutoring and literacy support to disadvantaged children who are struggling to read.
  • We gather literacy and educational leaders and organizations around the world to share ideas and collaborate within the sector.
  • We bring together innovative technology, e-books, games, and locally-curated content to advance the learning of children in remote communities in their mother tongue and English.
  • We are a global voice to spread and promote the importance of literacy, we empower people to advocate in their local community for this cause.


Levels of loneliness during lockdown were higher in people living with children (Fancourt et al 2020), and almost a third of parents of children aged four and under reported loneliness (Mental Health Foundation 2020). Both loneliness and social isolation are associated with depression (Matthews et al 2016). In addition, living in an area of deprivation and in an urban area is associated with a higher level of poor mental health (Bowers et al 2012), and this may have been particularly challenging during lockdown.

Sutton Trust research showed that 45% of parents of very young children reported a particularly negative impact on their child’s social and emotional development a study run by five leading universities found that disadvantaged parents were less likely to engage in enriching activities during lockdown, particularly those that require access to outdoor space and access to books (University of Oxford 2020).

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