June 2, 2010

Be literate!

I attended the seminar "How to Connect People to Books" led by Jonathan Douglas the director of National Literacy Trust from UK. The seminar was sponsored by Estonian Ministry of Culture and The British Council, and took place at the National Library.

I would like to highlight the following points from his presentation:

1. Reading and literacy is a fundamental human right.

2. Literacy changes lives.

If you have poor literacy you are...
...less likely to have your own home
...more likely to live in an overcrowded housing
...less likely to have children
...more likely to experience divorce

Also, social mobility (a persons ability to move from one social group to another) is dependent on reading for pleasure.
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3. Reading in general is associated with success.

On the other hand teenagers, especially boys who need to belong to a group and depend on peer approval, see reading as geeky, nerdy, boring and excluding. To promote reading among young adults and boys it is best know your audience - learn their interests, favorite brands, role models through which support literacy.

Here's an example:
BOAZ MYHILL, HULL CITY – GOALKEEPER on "Where the Wild Things Are" by Maurice Sendak

The story of Max's adventures when he sails away to the land where the wild things are has become an acknowledged classic of children's books. This book is the winner of the Caldecott Medal for the Most Distinguished Picture Book of the Year, 1964.

"It's a book about a naughty boy who says something he shouldn't to his mum. She sends him to his room and his imagination runs wild. He is transported to this mysterious island, or at least that's how I interpret it, where he plays with lots of animals and soon becomes king. This all happens between lunchtime and suppertime - he imagines all kinds of adventures. But he is eventually woken by the smell of his supper being delivered to his room by his mum. It's a great book for the kids and I read it to my twins almost every night."

Teenagers read magazines, newspapers, new media without realizing it. Use these tool to encourage reading.
Make reading social - creating book groups online or offline, read one book as a group (class, school, city...)

4. "Reading is the best ladder out of poverty" Gordon Brown

5. Reading is everywhere! Click here!

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