National Reading Campaign

National Reading Campaign

Recent surveys point out that rising literacy scores of Canadian students’ standardized testing do not spell higher reading enjoyment levels of these students.

The National Reading Campaign presents:

An evening to ask the question:

Has our obsession with literacy scores taken the joy out of reading?

Admission is free

Tuesday, January 18th, 7 to 9 p.m. OISE Library, at the University of Toronto, 252 Bloor Street West (St. George Subway Station)

Find out about:

  • a school system in China with few text books and a reading club in every class
  • a new magazine in Africa that is engaging over 80,000 new teenage readers
  • a new competition in Ontario high schools that is bringing back the joy and fun of poetry
  • how to engage young people in reading for pleasure, for enrichment and for citizen engagement.

For more information about this event please call People for Education at 416-534-0100 or Patsy Aldana, Publisher of Groundwood Books at 416 363 4343 x 230

The National Reading Campaign

The National Reading Campaign addresses the following concerns as stated in the Canadian Children’s Book News editorial  in their Fall 2010 issue:

  • Governments, eager to justify their education spending, regularly assure Canadians that student literacy scores are rising. But recent surveys conducted in Ontario have shown a rather alarming decline in reading enjoyment levels among elementary school children during this decade.
  • Reading enjoyment is a powerful predictor of student achievement, according to research conducted at Queen’s University.
  • Educators must seek out creative ways to make reading fun and fresh for school-age children and teens.
  • Too often, our schools have turned reading into a rote chore to be endured. Regional programs such as the Ontario Library Association’s “Forest of Reading” have stoked kids’ enthusiasm for stories.
  • Yet many educational institutions have failed to learn from the success of these outside approaches as they focus on functional literacy and standardized testing.
  • the goal here is to engage in a national debate about how Canada can become a reading society and then work toward positive outcomes.
  • We are gravely concerned that we have lost sight of some core values. The time for a response is now.

So Arises The Reading Society Movement

The National Reading Campaign was launched with the TD National Reading Summit in November of 2009.

A group of concerned librarians, parent activists, authors, booksellers, teachers, publishers and corporate leaders came together with a common goal: to begin the process of developing a national reading strategy for Canada.

From the first of three Summits, the delegates established the following seven working groups which included Canadians from every region:

  1. The Aboriginal Canadians Group is looking at programs that are Aboriginal driven and take into account Aboriginal culture such as storytelling and the role of elders.
  2. The Adult/Lifelong Reading Group is investigating research on adult reading habits, looking at reading as a social activity, technology and adult reading habits and government support of reading.
  3. The Babies and Preschool Group is investigating the Mother Goose Programs, various early childhood education programs, and surveying early literacy programs across Canada.
  4. The Equity and Access Group is developing a National Bill of Rights for Readers and investigating grassroots book exchanges, such as books on buses and in rail stations.
  5. The High School / Post Secondary Group is concerned about the role of boys in reading, how to freshen up the standard reading lists in the high school curriculum and making reading more inclusive by providing subject matter individuals are engaged in.
  6. The New Canadians Group is looking at the Rapid Reads and Good Reads Programs (short, high quality books written by well known authors with simplified vocabulary).
  7. Forest of Reading program. The School-Aged Children Group is investigating the importance of parents reading to their kids and taking a look at what’s happening in the classroom.

A special French-language working group ensures French Canadian culture is well integrated and represented within the research of all groups.

All of this work will contribute to TD National Reading Summit II: Toward a Nation of Readers, to be held in Montreal on January 20-21, 2011. (A third, and final, Reading Summit will be held in Vancouver in 2012.)

The Montreal speakers list is in its final stages and includes notable authors and thinkers from Quebec, throughout Canada and abroad. You can view the full details of the Summit at www.nationalreadingcampaign.ca.

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