ONE in eight of the region's most disadvantaged children do not have a book of their own at home.

New research by the National Literacy Trust, the charity leading the Read North East campaign, found that 29,674 children aged eight to 18 don’t own a book.

Of those children, those who receive free school meals, boys of all ages and teenagers are the most likely to say they have no books of their own at home.

The research report found that youngsters without a single book have much poorer educational outcomes peers who do.

Children who own a book are 15 times more likely to read above the level expected for their age and are four times less likely to read below the expected level.

The National Literacy Trust leads the Read North East campaign, in partnership with the North East Literacy Forum, which encourages parents to talk and read to their babies and children every day to support their literacy skills.

Since its launch in October 2017, more than 3,000 books donated by Penguin Random House have been given to families at intu Metrocentre, the Riverside Stadium and Stockton Sparkles. In 2018 more will be gifted to families that need them most.

Jonathan Douglas, Director of the National Literacy Trust, said: “Books have the power to transform children’s lives, which is why it is so alarming to discover that almost 30,000 children in the North East don’t have a single book to call their own.

"Getting books in to the hands of children and helping them discover a love of reading is at the very heart of our Read North East campaign.

"Working with our brilliant partners in the region, we are looking forward to gifting more children their first ever book and setting them on the path to a brighter future.”

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