Communities of Readers
By National Library | Posted: Wednesday November 6, 2019
The Communities of Readers project is an initiative designed to connect more children and young people to reading. This initiative is enabling the National Library to work with a small number of communities to strengthen reading engagement.
What is Communities of Readers?
Communities of Readers (COR) is a National Library initiative that aims to engage children and young people with reading for pleasure and wellbeing. Funded by the Te Puna Foundation and in collaboration with partners, the initiative will work with four to five communities to strengthen focus areas identified through a co-design process.
Research, resources, stories and tools generated during each of the projects will be shared. The learnings will also help shape future work, including that related to the National Library’s ‘Growing a Nation of Readers’ strategy.
COR commenced in mid-2019 and is expected to run for 2-3 years with most activity in 2020.
Purpose of the project
Reading for pleasure has significant benefits such as improving reading, knowledge, empathy, creativity, wellbeing and social outcomes. It provides an important foundation for digital and critical literacies, crucial for participation in today’s complex information landscape.
However, not all children, young people and their communities in New Zealand have the same opportunities to develop a love of reading. There are inequities in access to books, libraries, expertise, support and reading role-models.
“All of the data suggest how powerfully reading transforms the lives of individuals — whatever their social circumstances. Regular reading not only boosts the likelihood of an individual’s academic and economic success — facts that are not especially surprising — but it also seems to awaken a person’s social and civic sense. Reading correlates with almost every measurement of positive personal and social behaviour surveyed.”
To Read or Not to Read: A Question of National Consequence, National Endowment for the Arts' report, US, 2007
Communities will include a regional city, a rural isolated school community, and disengaged vulnerable young people with reading challenges.
The focus in South Dunedin is on children aged 3-7 — a period of transition from early childhood education to primary school. Stakeholders and agencies including the Dunedin City Council, the Ministry of Education, the Dunedin City of Literature and The Methodist Mission Southern have agreed on a shared mission and vision for the project and mapped existing services and programmes.
The Methodist Mission Southern is conducting a series of conversations with community representatives such as whānau, young people, librarians and educators with the aim of constructing personas to inform the initiative.
Resources for creating Communities of Readers
Creating a reading community ensures young people have the support, encouragement, reading resources and inspiration to read for pleasure. This is one of the most powerful ways of improving reading, vocabulary, knowledge of self, others and the world, educational outcomes and wellbeing.
Reading for pleasure - a door to success
Reading for wellbeing (hauora)
Reading at home
Reading Together programme
Home-school reading partnerships
Collaborating with public libraries