Reading opens up an entire world of benefits for children. It helps them develop communication skills, mastery of language, and improves their logical thinking skills. Children who read also enjoy a higher aptitude for learning and have enhanced concentration skills, and are generally more disciplined; which are unsurprisingly, traits required to finish a book.
Unfortunately, studies over the past two years have shown that kids in the new millennium read less than their predecessors. According to The Guardian, the percentage of kids reading for fun decreased by 21% from the years 2005 to 2011. Their time is slowly being allocated to other activities such as video games, surfing the internet, spending time on social media or watching the television. Kids find these activities to be more exciting and worthwhile, than reading and finishing a book.
To make reading an interesting and exciting activity for children again, major book retailers all over the globe are taking initiatives by launching exciting and innovative campaigns.
In Australia, Bookworld, one of the country’s largest online bookstores, has launched a pop-up bookshelf campaign to amplify the love of books and reading. It began with their Christmas campaign where they built pop-up bookshelves at bus stops in Sydney and Melbourne and stocked it with hundreds of free books. Commuters missed their buses, chatted with one another to recommend books to each other and took time to enjoy reading books again.
Due to the overwhelming feedback that Bookworld received, they are now letting people nominate the next location of their next pop-up shelf. Australians can nominate their children’s school, community, sporting group or town that they think will benefit from this project. People can submit their nominees via Bookworld’s website. After the votes are tallied, judges will choose the top three nominees to go through another round of voting to decide who is going to be the winner. The winning entry will be awarded the pop-up shelf which will be stocked with thousands of free books for the local community. This initiative is not only getting people excited about receiving a pop-up bookshelf for their chosen school, town or organisation, but they have received thousands of entries from kids all over Australia – engaging the younger generation in getting excited about reading!
In America, Follett Higher Education Group bookstore teamed up with the Pearson Foundation to host the “World’s Largest Reading Experience” event. This encourages children to read again by breaking the world record for the number of people reading the same book on a single day. Children enjoyed reading “The Story of Ferdinand”, a children’s book written by Munro Leaf and illustrated by Robert Lawson. People were also encouraged to donate books for those who are in need which the Pearson Foundation matched. The event was able to raise US$1 million for Jumpstart, an organization that helps pre-schoolers from low-income families enjoy better access to education.
Both initiatives we’re innovative and managed to get the younger generation (in addition to other demographics) involved in reading again. Reading books should be an integral part of children’s lives and it’s encouraging to know that book retailers are helping to make reading a fun and engaging activity.