Top authors and key local community members are leading the charge to get Hastings focused on reading at 2pm today (Friday, July 12).
At that time, children and adults across the town are being challenged to stop what they are doing and read for 10 minutes.
Pupils, teachers, families and employees from local businesses are all invited to take part in the town-wide moment to spread the joy of reading – which also marks the launch of a new partnership between the National Literacy Trust in Hastings and Bloomsbury Publishing.
Bloomsbury authors and Hastings residents have been gearing up for the moment, sending in pictures of them dropping everything to read.
Children’s authors Greg James and Chris Smith have led the way, with Hastings and Rye MP Amber Rudd, the White Rock Youth Theatre, Robsack Wood Primary Academy, Stagecoach, Battersby’s Fish & Chip Shop, Mr. He’s Kitchen and other local schools and businesses also taking part. People will be encouraged to show their support by posting on social media with #DEARHastings and #GetHastingsReading.
Students from Hastings Academy and Churchwood Primary Academy will also welcome Bloomsbury author and poet A.F. Harrold – who wrote the hugely popular Fizzlebert Stump books and the critically acclaimed The Imaginary. As part of the celebration students will be inspired to get reading and writing in an assembly and workshop led by the author.
The event is part of the Get Hastings Reading campaign from the National Literacy Trust and the Hastings Opportunity Area. The ‘Drop Everything and Read’ initiative is supported by research which shows that reading for as little as 10 minutes every day has an important impact on how well a child does at school. Evidence also shows that reading can help adults to relax, relieves stress and improves empathy.
Over the next year, the National Literacy Trust and Bloomsbury Publishing will work together to ignite a sense of magic and enjoyment of reading in people of all ages across the town, with author visits, book giveaways and unique access to the inspiring world of publishing.
To kick off the partnership, Bloomsbury have generously donated free access to Bloomsbury Early Years – an innovative online resource with more than 2,500 activities written by trusted authors – to early years settings in Hastings.
Schools and nurseries will benefit from this invaluable resource and it will be distributed by the area’s Early Years Improvement team reaching thousands of children aged 0-5 in Hastings.
Graeme Quinnell, manager of Get Hastings Reading, said: “We know that reading a little and often can make a huge impact on both children and adults. We want as many people as possible across Hastings to join our Drop Everything and Read moment today, but we don’t want them to stop there – we want Hastings to read every day and fall in love with reading this summer. It’s so easy to get involved in the Hastings Drop Everything and Read. Readers can take part at home, at work, or while they’re out and about – just stop what you’re doing at 2pm, grab a book or a magazine, and get reading!”
Nigel Newton, chief executive of Bloomsbury Publishing, said: “We are hugely excited to support the National Literacy Trust’s work in Hastings and look forward to this Drop Everything and Read being the first of many initiatives to instil and support a love of reading across the town. All of us at Bloomsbury are looking forward to doing everything that we can to make this campaign a big success.”
Richard Meddings, chairman of the Hastings Opportunity Area, added: “Reading for pleasure opens up a whole world of imagination which lasts a lifetime. We’re thrilled to be encouraging the people of Hastings to take a moment out of their day on July 12, to drop everything and read.”
Find out more about Get Hastings Reading and see photos from ‘DEAR’ at gethastingsreading.org.uk.