AN ICONIC Scots comic is launching a new children's reading initiative to encourage them to attend their local library and read more, as research shows British kids read less and less.

Beano's Libraries Aloud campaign, which launches today, will see a series of free interactive "read-out-loud-a-longs" take place in libraries across the country, to celebrate libraries and reading for fun.

Olympic legend, author, and father of three, Greg Rutherford is spearheading the initiative and leading a team of loud storytellers, including author Anna Whitehouse, of parenting blog Mother Pukka.

The storytellers will read The World’s Loudest Ever Comic Strip in this week’s Beano, created especially for World Book Day, on March 3.

Glasgow Times: Olympic Gold Medallist, Greg Rutherford reads from the ‘World’s loudest ever comic strip’, which is part of a World Book Day edition of the Beano, to pupils of Laycock Primary school as part of the comic’s ‘Libraries Aloud’ reading initiative.Olympic Gold Medallist, Greg Rutherford reads from the ‘World’s loudest ever comic strip’, which is part of a World Book Day edition of the Beano, to pupils of Laycock Primary school as part of the comic’s ‘Libraries Aloud’ reading initiative.

The special two-page strip, in this week’s comic, which goes on sale on Wednesday, March 2, has been designed for children to read out loud to help them unlock reading for fun.

It contains, in true Beano style, over 35 crashes, bangs, parps, wallops and thwacks.

The initiative was created as new research revealed that 75% of British children haven’t visited a library in over a year.

Of the parents surveyed, 95% said making noise and talking about stories made reading more fun for their children.

The poll of 2,000 British parents with children aged six and above highlights that reading for pleasure and access to libraries is on the decline. 

READ MORE: Additional support needs school near Glasgow welcomes new teaching area

A quarter (26%) of kids have never visited a library in the UK.

On average, children have not visited their local library in over three years.

Over half of children admit to being put off by the thought of going to the library because they think they need to stay quiet.

However, nine-in-ten said that making noise and talking about stories made reading more fun and three quarters of kids (77%) said they liked reading with their parents.

Of those asked, over two thirds (72%) of parents said their children do not read for pleasure regularly and 81% of parents believe that children are reading less than they did when they were younger.

Glasgow Times: Olympic Gold Medallist, Greg Rutherford reads from the ‘World’s loudest ever comic strip’, which is part of a World Book Day edition of the Beano, to pupils of Laycock Primary school as part of the comic’s ‘Libraries Aloud’ reading initiative.Olympic Gold Medallist, Greg Rutherford reads from the ‘World’s loudest ever comic strip’, which is part of a World Book Day edition of the Beano, to pupils of Laycock Primary school as part of the comic’s ‘Libraries Aloud’ reading initiative.

Mike Stirling, Beano’s director of mischief, said: “It’s been years since children had to stay silent in libraries but many grown-ups still believe that rule applies.

"We’re excited for Beano to celebrate the fun and noise that is ‘aloud’ in libraries this World Book Day and hope it encourages everyone to plan a visit to their local library very soon.” 

Greg Rutherford said, “I absolutely love reading with my children, and Beano is a great gateway for them to get into reading – it’s just not just books, but comics too that form this magical world.

"It’s been an honour to be involved with this campaign and I hope as many people as possible can pick up a Beano this week and enjoy reading it loudly at their local library.”

READ MORE: New scenic 5k race launched at national park near Glasgow as outdoor events return

To unlock reading for fun for as many kids as possible, Beano has partnered with World Book Day to give away 15,000 comics to kids from today via the Beano website.

A special Beano quiz has also been created to help kids to get loud and enjoy reading for fun.

More information and a special recording of Greg reading the World’s Loudest Comic Strip in Beano can be found here.