ON THIS day 200 years ago, one of the greatest storytellers of all time was born in the heart of Portsmouth.
And today The News pays tribute to the memory of the city’s most famous son Charles Dickens with the launch of a new campaign.
Read All About It will be a year-long drive to promote literacy in our schools.
Simon Callow, famed actor, writer, theatre director and Dickens aficionado, has thrown his weight behind our campaign calling it ‘superb and much needed’.
Literacy – the ability to read for knowledge – is a fundamental life skill that underpins everything that we do.
And the skill of reading, which leads to a love of books and literature, must start from a young age.
Shocking statistics show one in three children in the UK do not own a book.
But many of our schools are coming up with brilliant initiatives to help children achieve the best.
And it is those ideas that our campaign will give a platform to – sharing good teaching practice and encouraging an exchange of ideas to boost the skill of reading.
In a nutshell, we want to get youngsters reading any way we can.
From literacy pledges to young reading mentors, from bargain book sales to reading challenges, we’ll be working with schools.
We’re going to do our bit over the coming year with lots of exciting events including book giveaways, competitions, challenges and author visits with the support of library services and award-winning children’s writers.
Sandra Miller, head of Charles Dickens Juniors, whose pupils were reading extracts from Oliver Twist at the New Theatre Royal today, said: ‘Reading is the key to everything and I applaud The News for this campaign which will help us promote the importance of literacy. If a school is doing something that’s working a treat, I think we’d all love to know about it.’
Keep reading The News and visiting portsmouth.co.uk to keep up with Read All About It. And at the end of the year, we aim to be toasting a successful campaign that has boosted enthusiasm for reading in a way that would have made the great man proud.