By Dennis Abrams
It’s a sad fact that 40% of American adults are either at or below basic reading proficiency levels, and that another 14% are fully illiterate. And then, to add to that, there are millions of Americans – especially among the young – who are losing or have lost touch with the power and importance of reading books.
To help take a stand against that and to help changes lives, Penguin Random House, GoodReads, Mashable, and the National Book Foundation are joining forces by launching National Readathon Day. This marathon reading session will take place on Saturday, January 24th from 12 noon until 4 pm, when readers across the country will sit and read a book in their home, library, school, or local bookstore.
Participants can help by creating their own Firstgiving Fundraising page, and then inviting friends and family to donate.
If you represent a bookstore, library, or school, you are asked to use your venue to host a “reading party” during the Readathon, so that your local community can gather and read together. Another possibility is to create a fundraising team (named for your bookstore or library), which will enable your community to fundraise together as a group to contribute to the National Book Foundation’s efforts to promote reading in America.
But once you know you’re participating, there’s still the question of “what to read.” The time commitment is to sit and read for four straight hours, so this could be seen as a good opportunity to finally tackle that challenging book you’ve always meant to read, or maybe bring in that pile of books that’s been sitting on your nightstand, and read a bit from each until you find the book that speaks directly to you.
Among some of the well-known authors participating in the event, Khaled Hosseini plans to read Ian McEwan’s latest book The Children Act; Emma Straub has made plans to read Evelyn Waugh as well as some Babar (an interesting combination, to be sure), while the National Book Foundation’s Executive Director Harold Augenbraum will be reading Lemony Snicket’s The Bad Beginning.
But then again, it doesn’t matter so much what you read as long as you’re reading! Help make this an event to remember – and when the time comes, share your experiences and photos using the hashtag #timetoread.