Thursday, 15 December 2011

National Year of Reading 2012

Next year I am taking part in the National Year of Reading, an initiative aimed at improving the literacy skills of Australians, with nearly half the population at an unacceptable level of illiteracy. As an author of young adult fiction books, I'll be visiting schools and libraries to spark some interest in reading, or reignite a lost passion. I'll also be holding a book drive to collect books for underprivileged kids. Read on to find out more about this fantastic initiative and how you can help.

What is the National Year of Reading? (Information sourced from the NYR 2012 website)

The National Year of Reading 2012 is about children learning to read and keen readers finding new sources of inspiration. It's about supporting reading initiatives while respecting the oral tradition of storytelling. It's about helping people discover and rediscover the magic of books. And most of all, it's about Australians becoming a nation of readers.

Australian libraries and associations are backing a campaign to turn 2012 into the National Year of Reading, linking together all the great events and programs that are already happening around books, reading and literacy. Combining everything into one joint national effort will give them an extra boost.

Libraries will be partnering with government, the media, writers, schools, publishers, booksellers, employers, child care providers, health professionals and a whole host of other organisations that share a passion for reading.

Why have a National Year of Reading?

According to the NYR website, nearly half the population struggles without the literacy skills to meet the most basic demands of everyday life and work. There are 46% of Australians who can't read newspapers; follow a recipe; make sense of timetables, or understand the instructions on a medicine bottle.

As an avid reader and writer, I find these statistics appalling, and am left wondering why illiteracy is so prevalent in our society? Sure, these statistics probably include people with learning difficulties, and those with disabilities which prevent them from gaining literacy skills. But this nowhere near accounts for 46% of Australians. Could it also be due to poor standards or lack of access to education in certain communities? Perhaps there's far more elderly people out there who we dismiss, or who dismiss themselves as being to old to learn. Or is it sadly a simple lack of access to books? Whatever it is, I'm going to find out. And I'm going to do whatever I can to help, because 46% should not be an acceptable number.

How can you help?

There are a whole number of ways in which you and your family, friends, colleagues, and company can help with NYR 2012. Here's a list with links to get you started.

  • Become a “Friend” or “Partner” of NYR 2012. A whole range of organisations have partnered with NYR to host events, donate time and money and help libraries with their programs. Authors can become “Friends” and offer their time to do readings and visits.

  • Donate to certain initiatives.

  • Become an “Ambassador”. Celebrities can become ambassadors and use their strong public influence to help promote events.

  • Join your local library if you haven't already done so and encourage those around you to do so as well. Ask staff there about events that you could support.

  • Hold your own book drive and donate the books to underprivileged children.

  • Share a book with your child.

  • Go to the NYR website and sign up for their email list to receive updates.

  • Contact NYR staff and let them know you're available to help in any way.

So make sure you check out the NYR 2012 website for more information and get behind this great cause!

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