The Prime Minister and Other Leaders Contribute to a Great Start to Australia's First National Year of Reading

Article excerpt

On 14 February 2012 and throughout the week, there were celebrations all around Australia to welcome the start of the National Year of Reading (NYR)--an initiative first proposed at the April 2008 Auslib Reading critical." developing readers in Australia and New Zealand conference, in Melbourne and later adopted at the first Alia Public Libraries Summit in Canberra in July 2009.

There was enormous support for the National Year of Reading from the media, VIPs, celebrities and all three levels of government, with the prime minister, the federal arts minister and school education minister, premiers, state and territory arts and education ministers, federal and state/territory MPs, lord mayors, mayors and local government councillors all attending campaign launch events throughout Australia.

At the National Library of Australia in Canberra, prime minister Julia Gillard said

   I want Australia to be many things: a prosperous nation, an
   innovative nation, but I certainly want us to be a reading nation
   ... I want every Australian to know the joy and pleasure that comes
   from books and reading.

Federal arts minister Simon Crean was equally passionate in his backing for the campaign

   The National Year of Reading is really important. Literature and
   telling Australian stories--our way, in our words is so important
   to reinforcing our cultural expression ... Reading is important to
   the development of self. It is about knowledge. It is about
   expression. It is about confidence. And it's also about pride in
   culture.

Launch events took place in shopping malls, schools, libraries, bookshops and other community venues across Australia, and provided the opportunity to talk about all the activities which people have planned for the year. The rural city of Murray Bridge in South Australia even arranged ['or its fine new library see cover photos--to be opened by the state's governor on 14 February.

The Reading Hour

At a national level, The Reading Hour on 25 August 2012 will be a focal point NYR2012 for all ages and also the call to action ['or families share a book with your child for 10 minutes a day, an hour a week.

Margaret Allen, chair of the NYR partners group and state librarian of WA, explained

   The Reading Hour itself is for everyone and there will be
   activities for all age groups, but there will be a special message
   for families. The phrase '10 minutes a day, an hour a week' is our
   'slip, slop, slap'. It's the take away message that we hope will
   become the accepted norm. We know it's not always possible for
   parents to share a book at bedtime with their children, but if they
   can manage 10 minutes most nights, their child will have the best
   chance of becoming a good reader, with all the social and
   educational benefits that brings.

The key partners for The Reading Hour are Dymocks Booksellers, The Walt Disney Company and Dymocks Children's Charities. Together, these three partners have built a calendar of exciting reading inspired activities and promotions, beginning in the first half of 2012 and leading up to the big day on 25 August. There will be Disney Junior storytelling parties and fun Reading Hour competitions in Dymocks bookstores around the country.

Disney Junior has created a special video piece exclusively to support The Reading Hour. The message encourages families and children to join in the magic of storytelling by sharing a book together for 10 minutes a day, an hour a week. Disney Junior will play the spot throughout the year, both on air and online, http://vimeopro.com/disneychannelau/disney-junior.

Adding to the excitement, Disney and the Scholastic Group have created an inspiring promotion that invites children to find their reading super hero to win fantastic prizes for themselves, their school and their school library. …

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