WORLD BOOK DAY IS 20 YEARS OLD!
Ask any author, especially authors who write books for children or teenagers, when their busiest time of the year is and they will all answer the same, ‘World Book Day!’
Last year I spent World Book Day in a school near Halifax but over the previous couple of weeks I had visited schools in London, West Sussex, Liverpool, Durham, Sunderland, Cheshire, Lancashire and Leeds.
In every school, dedicated teachers are working hard to get children interested in reading and writing. Us authors arrive bright and bushy tailed, inspire the imaginations of children (and teachers) and see some of the most creative writers take their first steps on the literacy ladder because reading more is vitally important.
Around the globe on this one day (actually it is on different days in different countries- but the first Thursday in March is when we celebrate our World Book Day) books and reading are given the credit they deserve for firing up our imaginations, improving literacy, helping develop better vocabulary, improving general knowledge and a better understanding of the world around us and other cultures.
PEOPLE ARE READING LESS AND LESS…
We really do need World Book Day because people are reading less and less these days. Maybe that’s because we live in a multi-media age when almost everyone is staring at a phone, tablet or computer.
Reading less can be seen in low literacy levels in the UK. With the damning report from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) on the state of literacy of British teenage students World Book Day is not just needed to inspire primary school children to read more but also older children and young adults who could achieve so much by enrolling in our universities.
Teenagers are failing but UK Grandparents have the highest literacy levels!
In January 2016 the OECD rated British teenagers aged 16 between 19 as the worst of the 23 developed nations in literacy! We are bottom of the reading barrel! This is a terrible indictment of British literacy, or lack of it. But they were found to be not much better in numeracy either! They were rated as 22nd out of 23! Second to last! Clearly Britain is not that great when it comes to the literacy and numeracy of our teenagers.
On the other side of the coin the report did find that our older people, pensioners and people close to retirement were among the highest-ranked in their age group.
SO WHAT IS TO BE DONE?
We need to get children and young people to take time out from their electronic gadgets and spend more time with their heads in books.
Through schools, book publishers and booksellers National Book Tokens are available this World Book Day with more than 15 million £1 tokens being given out – that’s almost one for every child/young person under 18 in the UK and Ireland. You can visit one of our brilliant local book shops and pick up your book for a £1!
Here in our district we still have some libraries and as an author I like to support them in any way I can. Books can be expensive so why not visit our libraries and see how great they are! Both Lancaster Central Library and Morecambe Library are open from 9am every day except Sunday.
WORLD BOOK DAY IS 20…
So when World Book Day celebrates its twentieth birthday this year, why not give someone close to you a birthday present, a book! Or why not treat yourself!