The Reading Together Day (16 July) ambassadors and the shared schedule of events, delivered by 18 organisations across the publishing, books and education sectors, has been announced. The day will deliver a programme of activity to highlight the importance of reading together and encourage the nation to keep reading. The campaign aims to reach as many families and young people as possible.
Coordinated by The Reading Agency, the day will showcase events featuring collaborators including Authors Aloud UK, Arts Council England, ASCEL, BookTrust, British Library, CILIP, Coram Beanstalk, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Department for Education, Dollywood Foundation, Libraries Connected, National Literacy Trust, Open University, Pearson, Publishers Association, School Library Association and World Book Day.
Scheduled events will include readings from authors and contributors, virtual panel events, book recommendations and much more. Ambassadors for the day will include Paralympic medallist and presenter Ade Adepitan, mathematician Bobby Seagull, Waterstones Children's Laureate Cressida Cowell, author Jacqueline Wilson, poet Joseph Coehlo, author and presenter Konnie Huq, Professor Teresa Cremin and author Tom Palmer.
People of all ages will be invited to take part in sharing the joy of reading for pleasure and will be encouraged to post their favourite things to read and plans to keep reading together this summer online using the hashtag #ReadingTogether.
Ade Adepitan commented: "Reading is fundamental and is such a lovely experience to do with family and friends. Whenever I read a passage out from my books, The Cyborg Cat series, and I do the voices and the sound effects, you can see the excitement and engagement of the kids grow. It is so important that we encourage children to read for fun and one of the best ways to do this is to do it all together -- with or without the funny sound effects. This is why the Reading Together Day is so important and I'm thrilled to be able to be one of the ambassadors for this. So get ready to grab a book, grab a loved one and have an amazing literary adventure!"
Bobby Seagull commented: "As a child, reading books from my local East Ham Library opened my eyes to the world and changed my life. While a younger Bobby would have found it a challenge to pick just one favourite book, older me today would pick Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach. This is the book my father named me after from birth! Without reading over the years, I may never have accumulated enough knowledge to be a captain on University Challenge or win Celebrity Mastermind! So it's a privilege to be an ambassador for Reading Together Day to celebrate the life-affirming joy of reading books."
Cressida Cowell commented: "It's fantastic that so many organisations are coming together to celebrate the transformative magic of reading. Ensuring that children are given the opportunity to benefit from reading together has never been more important, given the huge disruption that children have faced over the pandemic. My Waterstones Children's Laureate Charter declares that every child has the right to be read aloud to, and I always encourage parents and carers to read with children far beyond the age they can read for themselves. Books read to you in an adult's voice live with you all your life: I remember every book read out loud to me by a parent or a teacher.
Reading offers comfort, distraction, a way to travel when life seems dark and is closing in on us, a way to laugh when not much seems funny. It connects us both with strangers and, if we read aloud and enjoy them together, with the ones we love the most."
Jacqueline Wilson commented: "I've long campaigned for a Reading Together day! I've always thought that reading together was a vital part of family life. Maybe one of the few delights of lockdown was the fact that parents and carers have had more time to read with their children. It's such fun to act out a picture book with a toddler or share a special favourite with children. Grandparents have especially loved telling stories on FaceTime, schoolteachers have read aloud as part of online lessons. Let's all celebrate on Thursday 16th July and get reading!"
Joseph Coehlo commented: "In a world dominated by online content designed to be a constant draw on our attention, there is a need to remember the simple pleasure to be found in reading together. When we read together, we open up a space for reflection, discussion, and connection all of which can be lost in our bubbles of insular consumption."
Konnie Huq commented: "I am thrilled to be an ambassador for Reading Together Day! As a busy mum I know that finding time to read with your kids can be hard- but it's so important to make the time to share books with each other. Until you've found the right book to turn you into a reader books are just rectangles on shelves! Sharing books with friends, family and loved ones is a great way to discover brilliant new titles and you never know, the right recommendation at the right time could turn a kid into a reader for life!"
Professor Teresa Cremin commented: "I'm delighted to be an ambassador for the Reading Together Day. The Open University research reveals that reading builds bridges - across families, classrooms and communities. Reading for pleasure is the thread that connects.
Reading changes lives and has many benefits which I'm looking forward to discussing on a panel as part of the day's activities."
Tom Palmer commented: "I am thrilled to be an ambassador for the first Reading Together Day - because family reading means everything to me. I am a children's author because my mum read football stories and newspaper match reports to me, engaging me with reading through the game I love. As a dad, I read with my daughter from baby to teenage years and, looking back, those times were some of the best. Intimate. Interesting. Inspiring. This Reading Together Day, I want to inspire more families to discover the joy of reading together as I first did - through the beautiful game - so I've teamed up with the National Literacy Trust, the Premier League and Rebellion to provide families with free football-themed books, activities and videos to explore."
As families and individuals grapple with the challenges of school changes, loss of support networks and the implementation of social distancing, the aim of the Reading Together Day is to bring families, friends, schools and wider communities together - encouraging everyone to start conversations, share stories, make connections, celebrate reading and have fun.
You can find the schedule of Reading Together Day activity highlights here.
If you would like further information about The Reading Agency, or to submit an interview request for a Reading Together Day ambassador, please contact Saffeya Shebli - firstname.lastname@example.org