Accra, Aug 31, GNA - Ghana Book Trust (GBT) in collaboration with the Canadian Organisation for Development through Education (CODE) has launched the “Read With Me Campaign”.
The GBT out doored Okyeame Kwame (Mr Kwame Nsiah-Apau) as the Celebrity Reading Champion.
The event was attended by school children, educators, librarians and visitors to the 16th Ghana International Book Fair in Accra.
The “Read With Me Campaign” is to promote reading for pleasure among CODE’s youth audiences and increase the profile of the Burt Awards and Burt Award titles.
It is also a reading campaign designed to promote the love and habit of reading among African, Caribbean, and Canadian First Nations, Inuit and Métis (FNIM) youth by providing encouragement and inspiration by example.
The campaign will feature Reading Champions, who are inspirational figures and celebrities from each region, along with teachers, librarians, students, writers, literacy organizations, and others committed to promoting literacy.
This is primarily a social media campaign, with the support of in-person and public events.
Mrs Genevieve Eba-Polley, the Executive Director, GTB, said the “Read With Me Campaign” was an active engaging theme with an embedded call to action.
She said it invited individuals, small groups (reading clubs, classrooms, youth groups), and large groups (communities and general population).
She noted that it could be used for a wide range of audiences from small children (who say ‘read with me’ to their parents or caregivers), to teens (who can be attracted by celebrities they admire or want to encourage friends), to adults (teachers, educators, and other professionals).
Mrs Eba-Polley said one of CODE’s major strategic goals for the Burt Award programme was the development of a reading promotion campaign.
She said aside from the sheer joy of exercising the imagination, research shows reading for pleasure improves literacy, social skills, health, and learning outcomes.
She noted that, the promotion of reading for pleasure among youth remains a challenge.
She said over the years, CODE had invested in reading promotion activities, enlisting the winning authors to visit schools and conduct workshops.
“Although the youth have enjoyed these activities, there is still an urgent need to bolster our efforts. We want to ensure that our reading promotion activities are scalable, adaptable, and most importantly, relevant to contemporary youth,” she stated.
Mrs Corey Huntington, Deputy Director, Development Programme, High Commission of Canada, hailed the longing standing partnership between the two nations.
She said Canada had supported CODE’s partnership with GBT for a number of years, promoting literacy and the love of books in Ghana.
On the ‘Read With Me Campaign’ Mrs Huntington said: “As a parent, nothing is more rewarding than when it comes to the time in your child’s life when she brings a book to you and for the first time doesn’t ask ‘read to me’, but rather ‘Read With Me’! You realise then that a whole new world of infinite possibilities has opened up for this little girl or boy, and they want to share that with you as their parent, their teacher, their friend, their classmate”.
Mr Willy Rangira, Senior Programme Manager, CODE Canada, said the “Read With Me Campaign” was happening in the context of the CODE’s Burt Award programme for young adults literature.
He said for children to be able to read, they first of all need quality books and CODE was doing everything possible to make quality books available to children.
Okyeame Kwame urged parents to inculcate reading habits in their children using persuasion, love and slight cohesion.
Okyeame Kwame said: “‘Read With Me’ is the most important hashtag for an African child”.
Mr Guy Amarteifio, the Greater Accra Regional Librarian, Ghana Library Authority, who chaired the function, said reading was important because it was the fulcrum in which development revolved; adding that “we can’t develop as a nation without reading. Reading is necessary in every child’s development.”