Diana Gerald on Book Trust's Summer of Love Reading
Published on: 06 July 2015 Author: Diana Gerald
The end of term is approaching, summer holidays are beckoning and the temperature outside is rocketing - all of which is great news for readers.
Whether it's the perfect beach read, a book for curling up with in the garden, or a book that makes a long car journey or flight go faster, summertime and reading go brilliantly together.
This is probably why we're so busy at Book Trust right now. Having just celebrated the end of the phenomenally successful Read for My School, our joint competition with Pearson (over 700,000 books read by over 220,000 pupils from 3,500 schools across the country). We are now celebrating Children's Book Week; announcing our Life Time Achievement Award (Shirley Hughes is our worthy winner) and gearing up for YALC (our Young Adult Literary Convention, hosted by Showmaster's London Film and Comic Con and generously sponsored by Prudential). Over 20,000 people will be descending on the Olympia conference centre where they can walk through the book zone and hear from some of the best names in young adult literature, including the incredible Judy Blume.
It's a lot of work. But it's incredibly important work too. Because we know that reading isn't simply about literacy. Reading is about using our imagination, understanding new worlds, empathising with characters, building confidence, and, of course, the sheer pleasure of immersing ourselves in a great story. Reading is one of life's pleasures, and one that we believe everyone should enjoy. It also opens doors - reading for pleasure has been shown over and over again to lead to better life chances, better social mobility, and higher confidence and happiness levels, which are things that we all wish for all our children.
It's why we focus so much attention on Early Years and Primary School-age children, giving out over five million books and resources to new families to encourage them on their reading journey. We know that children who are read to, children who grow up with books around them, children who see their parents reading, are far more likely to go on to be readers themselves. As the head of a primary school that took part in Read for My School put it: 'There is nothing more exciting than seeing kids read voraciously, particularly when you know that without these kinds of programmes, reading just wouldn't be part of their lives'.
So I wish you a wonderful summer full of books and stories. We're calling it 'the Summer of Love Reading'. I hope you enjoy it!