Blog update from Alistair King

For a country with some of the highest literacy rates in the world, New Zealand still has its fair share of challenges. Challenges that exist beyond the 43% of adult New Zealanders who have literacy skills below those needed to fully participate in a knowledge society[1].

You see, literacy is more than just an ability to read and write. Those two skills are a prerequisite to a whole array of skills that allow us to function, and succeed, in society. Skills such as communication, teamwork and creativity are all fostered at their core by basic reading and writing skills. This is why even as a young person growing up in a country with some of the most enviable literacy rates in the world, I know there is still work to do.

However there is more, add in to the mix that kids of all ages are spending less and less time reading. In households across much of the developed world, including New Zealand, apps and games are replacing the book. That is not to say that those respective pass times don’t have some positive influence on children, but it is almost inarguable that they do not contribute to the basic but crucial literacy skills to the same degree as reading.

So what are the consequences of all this?

Well it is certainly not something that we are going to notice overnight, or even a few years. But it may be the case that over time a generation grows up lacking some of the basic communication, creativity and wider literacy skills that are so crucial to function in the societies we have built.

In fact, the skills that may be slowly disappearing are likely to be the very skills that become more important than ever in the online 21st century world we are creating. With stock standard jobs fast disappearing it is people’s adaptability, emotional intelligence and (dear I say it) communication and creative skills that is going to allow people to flourish.

The skills that are disappearing are the very skills that are becoming ever so valuable in the 100 mile per hour culture we are heading towards.

Yet despite this, it’s not all doom and gloom. We are resilient creatures at our core and there is always something we can do. For those of us in the book industry it is not our job to fight the evitable trends of our time, as going against the tide of technological change is only going to speed up the consequences mentioned above.

Children are looking at screens, the world is going digital, everything is being gamified; these are the facts of the time we live in. Yet there is tremendous value and good to be extracted even when working within these parameters.

For example, the rise of audio books and e-books show tremendous innovation within the book industry, and may pave the way for a solution to the literacy problems that we face.

As a book publisher myself, we put a massive emphasis on developing a book that was as fun as it was educational. Though still a hard copy the book was gamified, developing incredible engagement with kids who saw it as an activity, not a chore. You see, we cannot work against the trends of how our young people are consuming content. But we can use the trends tackle some of the bubbling problems that may drastically alter the way our upcoming generations communicate and operate within this fast changing 21st century society.


Blog update form Zahra (Iran)

From 11th century till now Book has had deep root in Iranian culture. We have had a lot of great titles that have affected to our society and other countries as well; in poetry, astronomy, mathematics to medicine and philosophy. So this strong background expects everyone a high level time spent book reading in Iranian. But some statistical information and observations says we need to focus more on increasing book reading between Iranian people. This problem have several reasons that might connect together; growing modern entertainments like social media & the attractiveness of multimedia, think that I don’t need to books anymore!, some expensive costs, just focusing on reading educational books and do not have enough time might be some of these reasons.

For solving this problem all of us must get to getter and do some work to people attitude tent to more book reading. We as parent, teacher, publisher, media producer, government and etcetera should work on this subject to Prevalence loving books in people.

One of these things is making children familiarize with book reading and Make reading literature a habit for them. If children grow up with books from early childhood, as a result we can be hopeful that future generation would have more friendly relationship with literacy, For example we can read books to them or read books for ourselves in front of them to children imitate this behaviour.

On the other hand, the book appearance, variety and content are other factors that might effect on children tendency. So the book must have more qualities, be more attractive and finally present in a fun way.

As a publisher of children owns book- I think giving a chance to children for sharing their own voices through owns books is another way to encourage children to loving books. Moreover, this fun activity will foster their creativity, increase their self-steam and consider them as an effective person in society and their community. 

I wish all of children around the world could read other children own books in order to become more familiar with the literacy and to share the pleasure of personal and imagined world of their selves.

International Read to Me! Day events in Australia – March 19th 2017

Sunday, March 19th marks the launch of International Read to ME Day and Australia has activities planned around the country.  The purpose of the day is to highlight the importance of being read to in the development of reading and writing skills. ‘Read to ME day’ is a day for children to ask for a story to be told to them or for a book to be read to them.

“Reading and writing are such key life skills.  In Australia we know that literacy is a key indicator for future success,” said Emma Mactaggart, Founder of the Child Writes Fund , the entity supporting the campaign. “It takes a village to raise a child and a child to inspire a village.  Children all over the world will take part, I am excited that Australia is joining with us.”

Taboo Boys School in Tanzania has confirmed that they will be supporting International Read to ME Day, as have a number of schools and preschools in Bahrain, Myanmar and Indonesia. “This is only the second year for the event, and we are delighted to have had this response so early. Imagine next year!”

Keanan Wallace, a young published author from Scotch College in Adelaide is one of the ‘Read to Me’ Ambassadors, “I love reading and being read to, I want more children to enjoy this as much as I do,” Keanan said.  Toby, an Ambassador from the United Kingdom (Writing to the World) reinforces this, “On International Read to ME Day, I will make sure I remind all the junior children in my school they are allowed to ask to be read to every day and if their mum or dad can’t, someone in their community can.”

A range of activities will happen across Sydney and Melbourne, Toowoomba and Geelong and youngsters will capture the fun on Instagram and Facebook using the hashtag #ReadToMeDay

Emma Mactaggart is coordinating International Read to ME day activities.  If you want to run your own event or just want more information please contact Emma: