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Stephen Hawking joins The Sun’s Get Kids Reading campaign

Stephen Hawking has joined a government-backed campaign to improve child literacy and encourage parents to read with their children.

A specially adapted ten-minute extract of Professor Hawking and daughter Lucy’s latest book, George and the Unbreakable Code, will be published in this Saturday’s edition of The Sun as part of the newspaper's Get Kids Reading initiative.

The physicist joins author and comedian David Walliams, Deputy PM Nick Clegg, Education Secretary Nicky Morgan and former children’s laureate Michael Morpurgo in backing the initiative, which is part of the wider Read On. Get On. campaign with Save the Children that aims to ensure every child in the UK is a confident reader by age 11.

Stephen Hawking said: “I'm pleased to be part of The Sun's Get Kids Reading campaign. I love the challenge of turning cutting edge science into rollercoaster adventure stories for my young readers. I hope that by entertaining them with gripping and sometimes scary, stories, I can also teach them along the way. That's my mission!”

Professor Hawking has written four children’s books with daughter Lucy, who took part in The Sun’s bus tour of primary schools across the country that gave away 6,700 books to youngsters.

Lucy Hawking said: "I’m honoured to be part of the campaign. It’s a great idea to get authors to schools and talk about books. I’m passionate about books – both reading and writing – and I want to pass on that excitement to kids.”

A Save The Children-led report reveals that Britain currently has one of the biggest literacy problems in Europe with one in six adults not being able to read to the standard set for 11-year olds. The cost of illiteracy to the economy is currently an estimated £18billion a year. By 2025 that could well have risen to an annual £43billion, says The Sun.

The report revealed that reading with kids for just ten minutes a day can make a huge difference and help improve literacy levels.