FEATURE26 April 2023

Reading the room: How BookTrust encourages more families to read

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Research is at the centre of BookTrust’s plans to get children reading, by placing a firm focus on understanding family life. Katie McQuater speaks to Ruthann Hughes to find out more about the charity’s approach to learning.

a father reading a storybook to his son


For an organisation that promotes the benefits of reading, it’s perhaps not surprising that learning and curiosity are at the heart of BookTrust’s approach.

The charity has a strategic commitment to behaviour change: getting a generation of children reading – across England, Wales and Northern Ireland – through programmes that provide families with books, resources and advice to encourage parents and carers to read with their children.

Such a significant goal requires dedication to evidence: producing it, gathering it, analysing it and acting on it.

“Learning, evidence and insights are very much a cross-organisational endeavour within BookTrust, ” says Ruthann Hughes, director of research and impact at the charity. “Having an evidence-led way of working requires learning to be happening in quite a big cross-functional organisation, so it’s very much a shared endeavour.”

While the research and impact team contributes significantly to this, it works closely with other teams within the organisation. This ‘shared endeavour’ involves collaboration with, for example, a design and innovation team ...