Welcome to Reading Lives

Rob McMenemy

February 1st 2013 by Rob McMenemy

It’s an exciting day here at Egmont. We’re launching Reading Lives – a conversation about reading and an initiative to find out what’s happening to children’s reading in family life.

Reading Lives will sit at the heart of everything we do this year, as we investigate what will inspire children to read in the Digital Age.

So why Reading Lives? And why now?

Like many parents, teachers and authors, we hear every day that children’s reading for pleasure is under threat. Is it? Or is it just changing to reflect a new media environment? As one of the UK’s leading children’s publishers this question is incredibly important to us, so we’re setting out to find out more.

Now more than ever, reading is hitting the headlines. It’s on the government’s agenda, libraries are closing, one in three children aged 11–13 don’t own a book (Source: NLT), the UK is way down in the world literacy rankings and digital devices are in the firing line. Yet children still love stories, everyone agrees that reading is important, and reading for pleasure is cited by the OECD as one of the main predictors of a child’s success in school and in life.

While the government is taking action in schools, and charities are encouraging people to volunteer as reading helpers, we feel it’s also important to understand reading in the context of family life and what it takes to inspire children to read, today and in the future.

We know that for many families time is at a premium, often with both parents working, and an assortment of noisy screens all vying for children’s attention. But we also know that reading for pleasure still has its place and can excite beyond compare. We know this at Egmont because we only need to look at the amazing success of titles like War Horse, Mr Gum, Wimpy Kid and, of course, Harry Potter.

So Reading Lives will aim to dig deep, find out what works (or doesn’t) and shed new light on how we can bring the magic of stories to more children.

As part of our initiative, we’re excited to announce we have commissioned a new research programme, called Reading Street, in which Egmont’s insight team will spend time with families up and down the country over the course of a year to study first-hand the place of reading in family life.

Egmont’s Reading Street results will be shared throughout 2013, as part of the Reading Lives initiative.

At Egmont we’re already experimenting with new ways of telling stories on the digital devices children love most: games machines, smartphones and tablets. And we’re working with schools to teach literacy through magazines. We’ll be sharing our findings, thoughts and insights on this and lots more during Reading Lives.

We hope you’ll enjoy this journey with us. Please join in here on this blog and talk to us on Twitter @EgmontUK #ReadingLives.