The United Way Reading Oasis was launched at Berrymede Junior School in July of 2016.
Berrymede was chosen to receive a Reading Oasis because it serves several large council estates in the borough of Ealing, within which there is a high level of deprivation––nearly 60% of children at Berrymede are eligible for free school meals. Berrymede chose to put the Reading Oasis in their current library in order to massively expand it and update it, creating a whole new welcoming space for their students to read for pleasure.
Four volunteers from the law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges helped to put the Reading Oasis area together, sorting, organising and labelling the 1473 books donated by United Way. The Reading Oasis was welcomed to great acclaim by Berrymede’s students at a school-wide assembly, where each child was given a book of their own to take home––a crucial intervention, as 1 in 3 children in the UK does not have a book of their own.
42 nursery-age children from Berrymede Infant school were signed up to Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, meaning that they received a book every month for a whole year! Berrymede Junior School led a push for reading in the borough of Ealing during 2016-2017 and hosted a reading conference at which the Reading Oasis was featured, leading to a large number of requests for the programme from other schools in the borough.