2012 – Australia’s National Year of Reading.

In Australia, 2012 is the National Year of Reading.  It’s a joint initiative of government, local libraries, writers, booksellers, schools and many other interested parties to get the nation reading.  It is estimated that a staggering 46% of Australians can’t read.  As a writer, reader, and concerned parent, this leaves me wondering what has happened.  It would seem that the days when we used to call ourselves the ‘clever country’ are long gone!

Personally, I think every year should be a year of reading.  In a household surrounded by computer games, game consoles and i-pads, it would seem I am a bit of a lone voice in preferring to have my nose more securely in a book, traditional or otherwise.  I spent the entire year of 2011 reading to my daughter the entire Harry Potter series – probably the last time I would actually get to sit reading to one of my children.  Just by taking that tiny initiative, she is more interested in reading books than her reluctant thirteen year old brother (and she’s probably read more than him, too).  All I can say is bless you J.K. Rowling!

I’m looking forward to reading books by authors I have never read before.  I’m also looking forward to watching my ever-increasing ‘to read’ pile get lower (yeah I know – that will probably never happen)! 🙂

Will you be reading more this year?  Read any good books lately?

Free image by David Castillo Dominici courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

13 thoughts on “2012 – Australia’s National Year of Reading.

  1. It really is scary that the statistic for Aussies who can’t read is that high, and yet, as a high school teacher, I’d say that’s pretty accurate actually. I think it’s a culmination of several shifts in society and culture that have created this problem, and I honestly don’t know what the trick is going to be to try and solve it. But I agree, every year should be a year of reading, not just this one. And I think it is so much easier to talk about getting people interested in reading, than actually doing so. Authors like J.K.Rowling certainly help, and I hope newer series like The Hunger Games will bring a few people back to reading, but sadly with video games, social networking, and so on, there is more and more challenging younger people in particular for their time, time they would rather not read. It’s definitely an uphill battle.
    As for me, I aim to read 50 books this year, as well as write quite a lot (12 novellas by the end of the year, if all goes to plan). 🙂

    1. Debbie Johansson 27/03/2012 — 2:55 am

      Hi, thanks for stopping by. I agree that statistic is a pretty scary thought; I just hope that one day we will see an improvement. Competing with video games, etc is rather challenging to get kids to read. It has usually been a bit of a struggle to get my thirteen year old son to read, but lately we have had to resort to him reading novels based on his favourite video game of the moment – Halo (well, you do what you can, I guess).

      I, too am also aiming to read 50 books this year through GoodReads. Best of luck with your reading and writing goals! 🙂

  2. That’s great that you can get your kids interested in reading, mine are much younger and I really struggle to get them to listen to even the funny ones. I’ll keep trying. Those statistics are quite shocking.

    1. Debbie Johansson 27/03/2012 — 2:59 am

      Hi Catherine. Sorry to hear you’re having troubles with getting your kids to read. I used to love reading to my kids – Dr Seuss was always a favourite (I still can’t resist quoting some books even now). 🙂 Keep persevering Catherine – best of luck!

  3. I *want* to read more this year. I hope I do. A week ago, I published a post about I cannot seem to like reading anymore – “Harry Potter may have Avada Kedavra-ed my Love for Reading”.

    1. Debbie Johansson 27/03/2012 — 3:02 am

      Hi Felix. I go through these moments too, sometimes. I tend to read a bit too much that eventually, I get a bit sick of reading (who would have thunk it), but after a while I get back into bookworm mode again. I hope you find your way back into a good book soon. 😉

      1. I hope so too! : )

  4. What an excellent initiative — and what a shocking statistic. 46%? Oh my.

    For ideas on how to pique the interest of reluctant readers, I suggest checking out the advice Emma Walton Hamilton gives in her book “Raising Bookworms: Getting Kids Reading For Pleasure and Empowerment”.

    1. Debbie Johansson 27/03/2012 — 3:06 am

      Hi Beth. I agree; it is a great initiative. It’s just a shame that something like this needs to be done about it in order to help raise the issue. Thanks for the book suggestion – I could probably use it for my son. 🙂

  5. Julie Sherlock 27/03/2012 — 6:01 am

    As a child I remember spending many happy hours reading, in all sorts of places, up a tree even! As an adult I get up an hour earlier than I have to, just to be able to fit in more reading time in a busy working life. I feel totally lost without a book to hand. I am a librarian and find is very sad that our wonderful resources here in our library aren’t used as much as they could be. My children, adults now, are also keen readers and have passed on the love of books to their children. So I guess it does come from you as a parent or grandparent. Just taking the time to read to children gives them so much. Take them along to the library and let them explore.

    1. Debbie Johansson 28/03/2012 — 5:25 am

      Hi Julie. Thanks for visiting and sharing your thoughts. I believe reading to our kids at a very early age is certainly the way to instil such an appreciation for books. Every week, my kids have borrowed books either from school or the local library. I always love visiting my local library – I tend to refer to it as my ‘second home’. 🙂

  6. When my father picks my nephews up from school, he always takes them out for a treat, ice cream usually. Yesterday, my older nephew, he’s seven, asked if instead of ice cream, he could have a book 🙂 A bit like me at that age.

    Reading to kids from an early age makes all the difference, I think. I know that’s why I love books so much.

    1. Debbie Johansson 01/04/2012 — 11:39 am

      Hi Stephanie. What a great story; your nephew is much better off with a book than an ice cream. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

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