National Year of Reading 2012

Here in Australia, it’s now officially the National Year of Reading. This is an excellent thing to unite the reading programs across schools and communities in the country.

My daughter has always been an avid reader, and reads well above her age-range. This has now become slightly difficult.

At the age of nine she’s searching for good quality books which normally would be read by young adults – she’s already gone through all the fabulous books such as Harry Potter, Narnia, Pippy Longstocking, Nancy Drew and other classics. Once we’ve moved into young adult, however, we are hitting books which tend to have adult-subjects. The Twilight series, for instance, doesn’t interest her (thank goodness) because she’s not (yet) into the lovey-dovey business of young and adult sexual relationships (did I say thank goodness already, because double that).The Hunger Games – she would lap up that series (as I did), but the violence and killings in the books are not appropriate for her.

Trying to locate appropriately aged material which still provides a challenge in reading is an interesting problem to work through lately.

Plus, books in Australia, are really (really!) expensive. As much as you would like to support the local indie book stores, from a financial viewpoint it can be difficult. And it takes several weeks for those ordered from stores like to arrive too.

Despite these problems, older studies have shown that Australians read more per capita than any other nation (debatable now with other studies, but take it that Aussies read a lot). I’ve actually witnessed it. If you take a commuter train into Sydney, you will always find many of the travelers nose-deep into some reading. Sydney CBD also has deck chairs out in the squares for anybody to sit in, and take their time with reading – and people do.

My daughter’s school has an interesting program for reading this year, in honour of the National Year of Reading. There will be visiting children’s authors at the school in the winter semesters. The school is fortunate in that it also houses a children’s author of its own, so anytime she launches a new book in her series, she has some eager fans on hand to read her own books.

From an adult perspective, I’ve noticed the local libraries (which unfortunately, aren’t that local) are putting on a series of writer talks from local authors.

My daughter and I live in one of Sydney’s more affluent communities, and we understand how privaleged we are to have access to a bookshop, libraries, and books. Across the country, some children don’t have such a fortunate access or support for reading. The National Year of Reading will hopefully resolve a little of those discrepancies and add some more reading to our world.

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