by Katie Turnbloom
Founded in 1999 by former Congresswoman Pat Schroeder, Get Caught Reading is a nationwide campaign
with the objective to “remind people of all ages how much fun it is to read…
and to share that pleasure with the young children in their lives”
(getcaughtreading.org). While the core focus of this campaign is to emphasize
the joys of reading, particularly for pleasure, their website also discusses
how encouraging children to start reading at an early age helps their cognitive
development, earn higher test scores, and decreases the likelihood of their
dropping out of school later in life. Ultimately, too, and at risk of stating
the completely obvious, encouraging and teaching children to read breaks the
cycle of adult illiteracy and thus providing greater educational and
occupational opportunities. The campaign includes a series of posters where celebrities that kids look up to (both human and cartoon) are "caught" reading - see them all here.
|Image from getcaughtreading.org.|
I remember when I was young pretty much the only thing I was caught doing was reading. I loved to read and would devour anything I could get my hands on (although Roald Dahl was, and honestly still is, my absolute favorite). I can even remember going to the book store when I was twelve or thirteen and purchasing Dante Alighieri’s The Inferno – which, as my parents probably expected but didn’t have the heart to tell me, was far too advanced for me at the time; even though it was too much for my preteen self, I was encouraged to return to the text years later to further explore and re-challenge myself.
|Matilda Wormwood of |
Roald Dahl's classic, Matilda
So it saddens me to read that, according to the CIA Yearbook, the United States, our 315 million–plus person country, has a 99% literacy rate, leaving millions of people unable to read, or to do so with extreme difficulty. Not only are these individuals unable to experience literature for its boundary-crossing, world-creating magic, they are also unable to experience the relationships often formed through that literature.
That is why this month, to honor the memories when we at Godine were (and are!) caught reading, we will donate a picture book for every comment this blog post receives to the Waltham Family School of Waltham, MA. This school is committed to teaching illiterate adults the English language and is multi-purposed, helping adults not only read themselves, but to also form a relationship with their children through literature and pass on their enthusiasm for literature and learning to future generations.
So tell us something about your literary selves! What were your favorite books growing up? Your favorite David R. Godine, Publisher books? A book that changed your life? A memory when you were caught reading?