Friday, 4 March 2011

Anthony Horowitz – Literacy: State of the Nation lecture

On Wednesday evening the National Literacy Trust held a fundraising event in memory of its founder, Sir Simon Hornby. During the lecture it was announced that the trust has received a 100% cut in government funding and will have to run a £1million fundraising campaign to ensure their work can continue.

An independent charity, the NLT is dedicated to transforming lives through literacy. 
"We believe that society will only be fair when everyone has the literacy skills they need to communicate, to fulfil their potential and to contribute more to society. We campaign to improve public understanding of the vital importance of literacy, as well as delivering projects and working in partnership to reach those most in need of support."

As part of the evening, children's author Anthony Horowitz delivered a Literacy: State of the Nation lecture. 

Anthony Horowitz
Not afraid to be provocative, Horowitz started off by suggesting that we can sometimes "slip all too easily into certain false and over-comfortable assumptions about literacy, literature and reading." He went on to describe many events he has attended where the speaker finds themselves preaching to the converted and asked "How do we take the argument to the wider world? How do we draw in the non-readers?" While acknowledging the positive aspects of the upcoming World Book Day, Horowitz does question how effective initiatives like this are in promoting reading, especially to those without an existing book habit. He suggests that teachers, school librarians and local independent bookshops form a 'golden triangle' when it comes to helping children improve their literacy and reading, and that this is where we need to focus our attention.

I won't attempt to summarise the entire lecture here, as a full transcript and audio recording are available on the National Literacy Trust website. Well worth a visit.

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