McDonald's will become UK's largest children's books distributor as it commits to handing out 15 million books with its Happy Meals by 2015.
The book giveaway will start today with a five-week promotion offering a series of non-fiction books from DK Books's Amazing World series, including Stars and Planets, Big Cats and Oceans. By the end of 2014, the fast-food retailer will have handed out at least 15m fiction and non-fiction books to Happy Meal eaters.
The campaign aims to encourage families to enjoy reading together. The latest research from the National Literacy Trust (NLT), based on a survey of 21,000 young people in the UK, revealed that only 50% of children enjoy reading "very much" or "quite a lot".
As well as books given out alongside Happy Meals, customers can redeem books at WH Smith, the high-street retailer, under the offer, McDonald's said yesterday.
Jonathan Douglas, director of the NLT, said: "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."