Friday, January 11, 2008

Reading is a nationwide effort

Jen Robinson has inspired a lot of chatter in the Kidlitosphere this week about what parents can do help their kids read.
Alice Thomson's article in the UK's Daily Telegraph reminds us that parents aren't the only ones who can make an impact. While she's talking about the British Government here, her points are just as relevant on this side of the Atlantic.

Parents: Be role models! Put down the remote, shut down the computer, and pick up a book.
Authors: Stop playing it safe; kids LIVE for danger, risk, death, and REAL issues.
Schools: Place less emphasis (and budget) on computer literacy and more on reading and stocking up libraries.
Government: Stop shutting down libraries and giving schools so many administrative tasks that take teachers' time away from reading to their students.

Increasing literacy rates and instilling the joy of reading in children is a team effort, and we need the support of some big time players.


  1. Great stuff, Jill! I'm planning to link to that article, too, but I love your short summary of these actions. I honestly think, and I'm paraphrasing Jim Trelease here, that we need a national public information drive about the importance reading, analogous the one about the perils of smoking.

  2. Thanks Jen, and I'm in complete agreement with you about the need for a hard-hitting public information campaign. Seems like it needs to be a huge collaborative effort among many influential organizations who have the funding, but I wonder which ones.

  3. Yeah, it's very easy to say "there should be a campaign", but much harder to say exactly what should happen. I think that the election of a National Ambassador for Young People's Literature is a good start. I'm going to try to meet Jon Scieszka when he's out here later this month (he's speaking a local children's bookstore).

    And personally, I intend to talk about this issue as much as I can get people to listen. I'm hopeful of, over time, getting my newsletter into more people's hands, and talk to them about it. That's more grass-roots, of course. I'm not sure what it would take for a real, funded, national effort (besides the ambassador thing). They do have the Prime Minister taking a stand on this same issue in the UK, though, so it's not out of the question.

  4., a national effort is definitely not out of the question. With your blog, newsletter, and stint at PBS, I think you're doing an excellent job at getting the word out. Your hard work is paying off.

    I hope you do get to meet Jon Scieszka...good luck!

  5. Well, Jill, we'll keep talking about how important this is, and the more kidlit blogger get platforms like this temporary one that I have at PBS, the more we can make a difference.

    And I will try to meet Jon Scieszka, and will report back.