Good evening folks, happy World Book Night. For the second year running, I have been chosen to be a “giver” so I have several copies of ‘The Secret Scripture’ by Sebastian Barry to pass on.
Here’s a bit more info about World Book Night:
“The more I read the more I fought against the assumption that literature is for the minority – of a particular education or class. Books were my birthright too.” Jeanette Winterson, ‘Why be happy when you could be normal?’
UNESCO defines literacy as the “ability to identify, understand, interpret, create, communicate and compute, using printed and written materials associated with varying contexts. Literacy involves a continuum of learning in enabling individuals to achieve their goals, to develop their knowledge and potential, and to participate fully in their community and wider society.”
It is widely acknowledged that reading for pleasure improves literacy directly by actively engaging emerging readers in the desire to read.
In the UK over half of adults of working age (56%) have literacy skills below the level of a good GCSE, 40% of these are at Level 1 (similar to a D-G in GCSE English), the government set standard for literacy, and 16% at or below the level expected of an 11-year-old. In teens, literacy levels have been steadily rising as a result of the National Literacy Strategy but directly alongside this, reading for pleasure has begun to decline. Surveys report that between a third and half of the UK population don’t regularly read, see reading as a chore and aren’t interested in or see the value of reading. Many regular readers take it for granted that everyone has had the same opportunity they have – to have been introduced to reading by someone passionate about and to have had the opportunity to develop that passion themselves.
Reading changes lives, improves employability, social interaction, enfranchisement and can have an effect on mental health and happiness.
Through its unique delivery World Book Night involves tens of thousands of people in sharing the value of reading in their communities and delivers brilliant books directly into the hands of those who might never otherwise engage with books and reading.
As a trainee teacher and writer, I am very aware of the power of the written word and that is why World Book Night is one of the most important dates in my calendar each year. The idea that giving someone a compelling book could change their life so fundamentally makes me want to do this every day of the year.
If you know someone who is not “a natural reader” or “a bookworm”, leave a comment on this post or Tweet me @vpeanuts and I’ll happily share one of my WBN books in the hope of changing their mind.
Last year I gave ‘Someone Like You‘, a collection of short stories by my favourite author Roald Dahl. The guest post that will follow this one explains how that book made the difference to one young man’s life.