Category Archives: projects

the year of reading dangerously

2008 is going well so far for the Institute in London – I was invited to 10 Downing Street this morning for the launch of the National Year of Reading which takes place in 2008, as one of a small group including literacy promoters, librarians, teachers, schoolchildren, authors and Richard Madeley, the presenter who with his partner Judy has become the British equivalent of Oprah, hosting a hugely influential TV book group which helps the trade to sell stacks of the titles it recommends. Prime Minister Gordon Brown has had a rough few months since taking over from Blair, but was at his best today – he’s a genuine enthusiast for reading.
One topic for discussion was the importance of fathers reading to their children, and in particular to their sons. There are so many opportunities for new media here to help reach out to those who don’t think of themselves as ‘book people’.
Ten years ago the first Year of Reading kicked off a lot of activities and alliances which have thrived since, but I don’t remember anyone giving much attention to the internet – except as a place to download resources from. So I was delighted to be there this time representing the Institute, and able to make the point at the outset that any promotion of the importance of literacy skills, reading appetite and the pleasure of literature must recognise the cultural importance of the networked screen and the interconnectedness of different media in the minds of young people and the lives of us all, even those who don’t acknowledge this. Well, I kind of made that point…briefly and perhaps not so clearly. Anyway, I was there and got to speak up for if:book. The year has a different theme each month, ending with the Future of Reading in December, so we are planning all kinds of activities to link with that. Watch this space.