I don’t eat McDonald’s but this is a nice move. Restaurants in the UK will begin giving out a book (or the child can choose a voucher & get a book from certain booksellers) in their Happy Meals instead of toys, making McDonald’s the largest book distributor in the UK. According to critics: “However, the UK’s Children’s Food Campaign is criticizing the campaign, calling it an “inappropriate marketing strategy at a time when there is an epidemic of childhood obesity.”
Now I’m not sure what obesity has to do with a book & if you want to fight obesity then don’t feed your children McDonald’s in the first place. McDonald’s already offers fruit in the place of french fries & Milk or juice in the place of soda, so as far as I’m concerned they’ve done their part in the fight against obesity. Currently, there are no plans to bring this “Happy Readers” program to the U.S but given the literacy rate here & low test scores when compared to other countries, this wouldn’t be such a bad move for U.S. McDonald’s restaurants.
From Jessica Ferri of Yahoo Shine:
With one book per Happy Meal in the U.K., McDonald’s estimates that they will become the largest children’s book distributor in the country, with a total of 15 million books handed out by the end of 2014.
The initiative was inspired by data complied by Britain’s National Literacy Trust, which recently revealed that out of a group of 21,000 children, only 50 percent of them said they enjoyed reading “very much” or “a lot.”
For the next five weeks, Happy Meals in the UK will feature non-fiction books from DK Books’ Amazing World Series, with categories of Stars and Planets, Big Cats, and Oceans. Children can also redeem a voucher from their Happy Meal if they’d prefer to choose their own book at bookseller WH Smith.
“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,” Jonathan Douglas, the director of the National Literacy Trust, told Britain’s Telegraph. “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.”
Children in the United States would undoubtedly benefit from the encouragement to read as well. Out of 34 countries, the U.S. is ranked 14th in reading tests, with many children reading below their grade level and only one-third of 13 year olds are daily readers. England’s ratings are even worse. They come in at 19th in international literacy tests.
15 million free books might seem like a big number, though it’s paltry compared to mega bookseller Amazon.com, which sells more than3.1 billion books a year worldwide.
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