The magic of books.

This week I went back to my old high school.

I was asked to speak on the the value of reading, books and literacy as the Ambassador for the National Year of Reading.

Here is a copy of the presentation.

For me, reading whet my appetite for travel. Books influenced the places I saw and connected me to people I met on the road. Reading gave me a broader understanding of where I had landed, the culture and the history of a place, before I got off the plane to explore it myself.

There’s something about books that will always trump the web. All the effort that goes into producing one book; edits, re-edits, interviews, and years of people’s lives. Reading a book is a completely different sensation to accessing the instant, information everywhere stories available on the web.

It’s a relief, an escape, an immersion into a different world.

I was shocked to learn that a staggering 46% of Australians have difficulty reading. 46%.

Almost half of Australia can’t read newspapers, understand the instructions on a medicine bottle or read sufficiently to meet the most basic demands of everyday life and work, let alone read a book.

It was good to reflect on how reading has shaped the life I lead.

How has it changed yours? What can we do to encourage children to read – and level up the 46% missing out?

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11 comments

  1. What a lovely picture and an interesting presentation. (But it might have been better if the girls were reading books and not the Lauriston Life magazine??)

  2. Hi Bryony,
    As the Librarian who invited you to speak at our assembly, I can say you were very inspirational and entertaining. You understood exactly what was required, what the aims of the National Year of Reading were and exactly how to keep the girls interested. You made it relevant to them while outlining your passions and committments. You pitched it perfectly. I had the teachers talking about it all day and had great responses from the students. You were the perfect Ambassador for Reading. Thank you very much. I only wish that you were not heading off to New York as I would have invited you back later in the year for other Ambassador related tasks. All the best for your new life in NY.

    1. Thanks so much Angela, it was amazing experience to return to the old halls of Lauriston as an adult. It wasn’t that long ago I was sitting in the assembly hall with a school dress on myself! Always happy to help with project like this… even if next time it’s from the Big Apple!

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