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McDonald’s Set to Become the Biggest Children’s Book Distributor in the UK
2013-01-15 0:00

By Megan Garber | TheAtlantic.com

Is there an activity that combines whooping and weeping and shaking one’s head at the weirdness and occasionally the wonderfulness of the world?

If so, that activity would make an apt reaction to the following news: McDonald’s restaurants across the U.K. are going to start distributing books, instead of toys, in their Happy Meals. For the next five weeks, as part of the chain’s "Happy Readers" promotion, the McDonald’s kids’ meals will include non-fiction books from DK Books’s "Amazing World" Series -- books with kid-friendly titles like "Stars and Planets," "Big Cats," and "Oceans."

It’s easy to make fun of the experimental McLiterature initiative -- in the way that it’s easy to make fun of McDonald’s itself. But the chain is, like it or not, a juggernaut ... one that has, as such, immense power over the impressionable kids among its customers. And this could be one way -- one small way that, via McDonald’s mass impact, could prove significant -- to get kids excited about reading. The initiative, Yahoo Shine reports, was inspired by data from Britain’s National Literacy Trust -- data revealing that, out of a group of 21,000 only half of them said they liked reading "very much" or "a lot." 

Which is both unfortunate and reversible. As Jonathan Douglas, director of the NLT, told The Telegraph:

Our research tells us that there is a very clear link between book ownership and children’s future success in life, so it is very concerning that one in three children in the UK doesn’t own a book, and half of kids don’t really enjoy reading.

Initiatives like McDonald’s Happy Readers campaign play an important role in getting more books into the hands of children, and inspiring families to read together as a fun and interactive pastime.


Read the full article at: theatlantic.com

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