May is National Get Caught Reading Month, a campaign that aims to encourage people of all ages to enjoy literature and share their love of it with others. The campaign gets the word out by showing photos of celebrities reading various books, including Queen Latifah, Michael Bloomberg, and Dora the Explorer, among several other familiar faces. These photos are printed into poster format and dispersed in schools and libraries to help children realize that books aren’t just schoolwork, but successful people from all ages and backgrounds read with a smile on their face. To help spread the message, teachers and librarians then take photos of students “getting caught” reading and make their own posters to encourage others!
Why is this Campaign Important?
In a world focused on the internet and social media, books seem to have taken a back seat in people’s everyday life, giving way to more instant forms of gratification. For young children and teens particularly, it is important that they learn to read and enjoy the experiences reading can bring. Reading for pleasure has many benefits including mental wellness and, according to an article from the New Zealand National Library, reading is also associated with higher academic motivation levels, more positive engagement in school and family relationships, and higher social/attitudinal competencies. Aside from those benefits, reading is a key skill one must have to pursue a higher education and to succeed at many 21st century careers.
In a study done for Scholastic Publishers, researchers found that less than 50% of children ages 9-17 read for enjoyment. At a time when a child can build a habit for a lifetime, this number is alarmingly low and seems to correlate with the low amount of adults that read for pleasure as well. In the same study, Scholastic found that a child between the ages of 6 and 11 is more likely to be a frequent reader if they are currently read to at home, they were read to 5-7 days a week before nursery age, and if they were less likely to use a computer as fun. The common theme to encouraging a healthy relationship with books is reading aloud with children and being a good role model for them by consistently bringing books into the home as a family activity.
Words Alive’s Take On The Celebration
Words Alive has gotten involved in celebrating people’s love of reading by bringing the idea to social media and asking others to post a #shelfie with their favorite book or in front of their book collections! We have also been inviting local council members, news anchors, and even local sports team representatives to make appearances in classrooms to read to elementary students to help encourage their love for reading. To get involved with our Share Your Love of Reading Campaign, follow our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @WordsAliveSD or visit our main page to learn more about other ways you can get involved!