Reading Oasis

Reading Oasis

Our Reading Oasis programme addresses early childhood literacy challenges and aims to give every child the opportunity to develop a love for reading through providing new school libraries and reading resources. This positively affects children's ability and potential throughout school and beyond.

We focus on children from disadvantaged backgrounds as they face the highest risk of being caught in a poverty cycle. Those with poor literacy levels have a higher likelihood of experiencing financial instability and unemployment later in life.

What is a Reading Oasis?

The United Way Reading Oasis places books into the hands of disadvantaged children through donating an entire library to schools that lack reading resources, where 30% or more of pupils are eligible for free school meals.

It was designed in collaboration with teachers, educational experts and children. Every Reading Oasis includes:

  • A safe, inviting space within the school where children can enjoy reading. The library has specially designed furniture to encourage children to pick up a book, sit down, and read.

  • Hundreds of brand new books from our partner Scholastic.

  • A book for every child to take home and keep.

  • A book a month for a year, for every child at the school nursery.

  • Resources for parents, carers and teachers with tips on reading with their children.

Why fund a Reading Oasis?

  • Every year, more than 1 in 3 children receiving free school meals leaves primary school with substandard literacy - around twice as many as children not on free school meals.

  • Of these same children, 93% will not achieve 5 GCSEs before leaving school.

  • Nearly 800,000 children in the UK do not have a book of their own at home.

  • An estimated 20% of primary schools do not have libraries.

  • Reading aloud with a child for 15 minutes every day is one of the most effective ways to improve literacy and address ongoing learning issues.

If you are a school

Reading Oasis installations come at no cost – United Way and our partners cover all expenses.

If you are a school and would like to be awarded a Reading Oasis, please complete the request form in the Reading Oasis website:

You will also find useful reading resources there for teachers and parents.

If you are a Corporate Partner

The Reading Oasis programme has already installed more than 20 school libraries, donated over 20,000 books and impacted more than 4,500 children across the UK since 2015. We would not have been able to achieve this without the support of our corporate partners and individual donors.

If you would like to learn more about how to support Reading Oasis in a school near you, please contact: