On Friday April 12th 2019, over 204,00 individuals, book clubs, corporates and schools registered to take time out and to ‘Drop Everything and Read’ for twenty minutes at 12 noon. This was an extraordinary increase of over 207% participation. The simple but very effective idea is to promote the importance of literacy and reading for pleasure by having as many people as possible read at the same time on the same day. Work will be put down, computer screens will be turned off, school-texts put away and everyone will be encouraged to pick up a book, magazine, newspaper, e-book, audio book, etc. and to read quietly, or indeed be read to, for twenty minutes. The main focus of this national DEAR challenge is to draw attention to the importance of reading for pleasure. If reading is to become a lifelong habit then young people must see themselves as participants in a community that views reading as a significant and enjoyable activity.
Support from the government
Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Katherine Zappone signing the Europe Reads book and the petition to the European Parliament.
Goal of Campaign
Is to encourage everyone to read for pleasure, whether it is collectively or quietly to oneself. We know that the benefits of reading include improved mental well-being, better educational outcomes, increased levels of empathy and imagination. We want to ensure access to books for all children to make a sustainable difference in their lives.
Studies have found a significant link between reading for enjoyment and educational achievement; there is evidence that reading for pleasure has a greater impact on a child’s educational success than the family’s socio-economic status and could be an important way to help combat social exclusion and raise educational standards (OECD 2002).
Most Pressing Issue
The Irish Government funded school libraries until 2008, when the budget was cut during an economic recession. This funding has never been reinstated. We know that childhood is the most important developmental phase, it is the basis for every life course. Ireland is unique in Western Europe in having such a large youth population, a wonderful future asset, but to maximise the social and economic benefits we must support them and invest in the services they require. Our schools system is stretched, under-funded and under-resourced. Improving access to reading and technology, raising education levels and reducing inequality bring significant economic returns to society. Universal services are the main providers of prevention and early intervention, and we know that these measures are cost-effective. We want books to be part of EVERY child’s life.
What we need most
We need our government to reinstate funding for school libraries to allow schools to purchase books, to encourage reading for pleasure. Ensuring that every child in Ireland has universal access to books.
Find out more at www.childrensbooksireland.ie