Finland’s successful literacy initiative, Read Hour is coming to the UK for the first time this year, with the help of the country’s best loved literary export, the Moomins.
Celebrated on UN International Literacy Day, Read Hour was created by the Children and Youth Foundation with a mission to encourage people to spend one hour of their day on September 8th reading. Kids will be encouraged to read whatever they can get their hands on, whether a book, magazine or comic book.
After witnessing the success of the Read Hour campaign in its home country, Moomin Characters was inspired to help launch the initiative on an international scale. Three years since its launch, Read Hour has now attracted growing support. Sauli Niinistö, President of Finland, has been the patron since Read Hour began and thousands of Finns shared their Read Hour participation on social media every year.
In the UK, organisations who have pledged to support Read Hour so far include Waterstones, Macmillan Children’s Books, Sort Of Books, Oxfam, World Book Day, BookTrust, Love Reading and many more.
There will be special Read Hour events taking place at Waterstones stores in London and Glasgow on September 8th at 4pm. The Glasgow event at the Sauchiehall Street store will see Moomin storyteller Liz Fost entertain audiences with interactive storytelling and crafts.
Meanwhile, in London’s Kingston store, attendees will have the opportunity to meet and have a photo with Moomintroll and hear tales of Moominvalley from children’s author Philip Ardagh, the author of The World of Moominvalley.
Roleff Kråkström, managing director of Moomin Characters, said: “We have made a long term commitment to helping spark a love of reading and writing in young people around the globe, and are delighted to be bringing Read Hour to the UK as part of that mission.
“We believe that being able to read and write opens up a world of possibilities for young people, allowing them to communicate their hopes and dreams, relate to others, engage with the big issues of our times, and create positive change.”
Jennifer Saunders, Cressida Cowell, Laura Dockrill and Philip Ardagh are among the celebrities and authors who will be supporting Read Hour on social media. Anyone taking part is encouraged to share a photo of themselves or the book they are reading on social media using the hashtag #ReadHourUK.
The official Read Hour will be held at 2pm-3pm, but anyone unable to take part then is encouraged to hold their own Read Hour at any time that suits them on September 8th. Reading alone and reading together with a family member, friend, classmates or colleagues are equally encouraged.
A range of Read Hour resources are available here for bookshops, schools, and libraries who would like to take part in the initiative. Please contact email@example.com for further information.