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Prime Minister launches National Year of Reading

Gordon Brown and Education Secretary Ed Balls were joined by a group of schoolchildren and children's writers at 10 Downing Street today for the launch of the National Year of Reading.

Children from City of London Academy and Loxford School of Science and Technology created 'reading corners' with beanbags and cushions and chatted with the Prime Minister about their favourite books.

The 2008 National Year of Reading has been launched to help build a greater national passion for the pastime among children, families and adult learners alike.

At the launch, Ed Balls called for every employer, school, library, college and local authority to get involved and sign up to the campaign by logging on to the National Year of Reading website  

Mr Balls said:

"I want every school, college, library and employer to pledge to join in with the Year of Reading by signing up online. If local communities, authors, broadcasters, celebrities and employers come on board we can really bring about a long-term change in the nation's attitudes to reading.

"Books are at the heart of the Year's activities but all reading 'counts'. Newspapers, magazines, poetry, song lyrics, screenplays and blogs will all feature as part of the Year's activities."

Campaigns and activities to boost reading throughout the year will be led by 146 'reading coordinators' working with local authorities.

Suggested activities include employers making their work place more reader-friendly by turning their old smoking rooms into mini-libraries and encouraging parents to spend ten minutes a day reading with their children.

The SLA will of course be creating activities and reminders of how school libraries can be involved with the NYR, and these will be available on our website when the Year begins, in April

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