Reading is essential to the quality of our lives and to our ability to take our place as citizens in a democracy. Over the past four years, hundreds of Canadians: readers, educators, librarians, publishers, parents, and writers from every part of the country have worked together to create a National Reading Plan. The National Reading Plan addresses ways to ensure that each of us — regardless of age, background, income level, level of education, or location — has access to reading of all kinds and in all platforms. The National Reading Campaign will begin the work of putting this exciting and challenging plan into place from coast to coast.
About the National Reading Plan
Why is reading important?
- Reading has an impact on every part of Canadian life. Our democracy, our economy, and the quality of our daily lives are all enhanced by reading well and critically.
- Reading is essential to the well-being of society and to our functioning as a democracy.
- Reading is a lifelong source of pleasure for individuals.
- Reading empowers the critical thinking skills of every individual.
- Reading can enhance empathy and lead to greater understanding of people who are different from ourselves. It increases our emotional intelligence and helps us to appreciate other points of view.
- Reading is essential to being able to function. It helps reduce barriers to access. It allows people to make meaning of their world.
- Reading lays the foundation for future learning. It increases our self-worth. It gives us the capacity for critical thinking.
- Reading inspires. It is a trigger for the imagination.
- Reading increases individuals' health and economic well-being.
- Reading preserves the culture for the next generation. It creates a shared connection to the community.
- It is important for society to have a large portion of the population engaged as readers so they can exercise power over their lives and understand how to make effective changes. It allows them to be active citizens.
What is the mission of the National Reading Plan?
To make reading a national priority.
What is our vision?
To create, sustain, and grow a society in which each of us has an equal opportunity to become and remain a lifelong reader.
Underlying principles of a National Reading Plan
- Equal access for all to reading materials
- Freedom to read any content
- No distinction between types of reading materials or the different platforms
- Access to reading materials in mother tongue, official, and Aboriginal languages
- Promotion and access to Canadian-authored materials of all kinds. This is essential to our self-knowledge, culture, and democratic practice
- Early access to joyful reading is the right of all children and in a democracy schools are the place where such access can be guaranteed
Who will be involved?
Readers, parents, young people, academics, librarians, educators, publishers of all media, booksellers, literacy organizations, writers, community organizations, business (both large and small), trade unions, elected officials, Aboriginal elders, child-care providers, NGOs/associations, all levels of government, and members of the community who care passionately about the power and pleasure of the written word.
Where do we start?
By asking, "What did you read today?"
"What did you read today?" is a three-year campaign to raise an awareness of reading's importance, and to encourage governments at all levels to take policy steps to make Canada a nation of readers.
What are the roles involved?
Our National Reading Campaign board and secretariat will:
- Champion reading and policies to promote reading at all levels of government
- Research and bring together research about Canadian reading patterns, trends, demographics, the impact of digital media, existing programs, and gaps in services in order to inform the development of policy
- Act as a resource and clearing house for and support for the work being done by the wide range of groups in each province and municipality
- Work with existing associations, organizations, and all levels of government
- Work with educators to ensure that all children have the chance to become good life-long readers
- Work to ensure that nobody is excluded, regardless of ability level, ethnicity, country of origin, economic status, age, or location
- Undertake research and demonstration projects to further the goals of the National Reading Plan
Our partners and local communities are encouraged to:
- Promote the program
- Engage community leaders
- Encourage community members to become involved
- Bring National Reading Campaign materials into existing programming
- Spread the word through newsletters, blogs, talks
- Use the campaign as a way to support public libraries, schools, and other institutions in their efforts to promote reading
Policy-makers are encouraged to:
- Continue to support existing publishing programs
- Eliminate GST/HST on reading materials at all levels of the production and distribution chain
- Support translation into official languages and other languages when it is appropriate
- Enhance funding to public libraries
- Ensure that teacher education at all levels includes training in reading promotion
- Re-invest in school libraries and training teacher-librarians
- Support ways to allow writers to write
- Support the development and maintenance of Canadian databases
- Support e-book formats and their use in Canadian libraries
- Invest in programs that support reading and commit to incorporating reading into government-funded activities
- Commit to taking special measures for those Canadians who, due to disability, ethnicity, country of origin, economic status, or location, face barriers to becoming readers
- Assess all funded programs for their impact on reading