During the spring term as an Ambassador representing Academic Appointments, I attended a Child Friendly event where I learnt the shocking news that Leeds had highlighted a large gap in reading achievement.
It is because of this gap that the 2019/2020 academic year has been declared as the ‘Year of Reading’ across Leeds.
As ambassadors, it is Academic Appointments mission to support the initiative and do what we can to help close the gap.
Armed with the above information, I set off working on a campaign to share recordings of our staff reading their favourite children’s books, however obtaining copyright wasn’t as easy as I had first considered so I tweeted a well-known Yorkshire based Author; Caryl Hart, who jumped at the chance to be involved.
With her fantastic brainpower and some creativity, we finally came up with a plan. Caryl liked the idea of sharing our videos but did agree copyright would be very difficult to obtain and that there was already an abundance of recordings out there, so why not compile a list and share these. The first idea ticked off! I created a playlist on our YouTube channel and emailed our internal staff to request they send me their favourites… I had 7 back within the hour! This may seem a small amount, however, it was the holidays with more than half the company on annual leaver. Caryl even got involved and sent me hers.
You can view the full playlist here however we will be sharing them across our social media throughout the year.
It didn’t stop there though… Caryl made the below point, which got my brain working.
“I think it’s important for children to see all sorts of adults reading in all sorts of places, so I wonder whether you could get, for example, the postman reading in the sorting office, or a tree surgeon reading in the back of her truck! Believe it or not, many children from deprived backgrounds encounter very few adults who actually have jobs so this could be a really lovely addition. Also for children to see "ordinary" people reading would be powerful because it would help "normalise" a love of books. So it would show children that reading is not just for teachers or librarians or community leaders, but for everyone - builders, school crossing patrol people, shop keepers etc.”
So, this brings me to our second challenge…
Over the course of the academic year members of the AA team will be working hard to fill our social media platforms with images like the aforementioned. We will be asking everyone we know in a professional capacity to send me photos of them reading in their workplace. Hopefully, by sharing these images we will spread awareness that reading doesn’t stop when you leave school, it’s actually a pleasurable experience for many adults AND that it is also a skill which is required for many occupations.
Could you help us spread the message? Email your photos to firstname.lastname@example.org with the following statement ‘I give Academic Appointments the full rights and permission to use the attached photographs for marketing purposes”, and Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn handle (@name) and I will include you in the campaign.
Thank you so much to Caryl Hart and Child Friendly Leeds for their support with our plans and their passion and ambition to make it work. Let’s hope it goes big.
You can find out more about the ‘Year of Reading’ by checking out @LeedsYOR on Twitter or following the hashtag #Leedslovereading
Make sure you also follow Caryl on her Twitter @carylhart1 or visit her website https://www.carylhart.com/home