With cool music and daredevil movements by three young free runners, the reading promotion campaign Pause – you and a book started yesterday at the Göteborg Book Fair. Author and skateboarder Johan Unenge, also known as a cartoonist and Sweden’s first National Ambassador for Reading, is Pause’s “reading coach”:
– The world of sports is a perfect arena for reaching young people. Here, you find commitment from children, parents and coaches, says Johan Unenge.
Pause is an effort to get more young athletes to read books during their spare time. All over Sweden sports clubs and libraries are working together to improve young people appetite for reading. The initiative comes from the sports movement and the Swedish Arts Council. Johan Unenge:
– The goal is to reverse today’s negative trend, and to give young people a pause – a pause that gives them a richer language, a better reading comprehension and a wider world.
Johan Unenge will be blogging on the Pause web and travelling around the country to inform, pep and spread knowledge about the project. The hub in this reading promotion project however, are the sports leaders. Librarians and parents becomes important as supporters. A sports club wanting to join the Pause project choose what level they want to add books into their activities. To contact the nearest library could be the first step and in time perhaps the club or municipality wants to launch a major long-term project.
There are already several sports and reading promotion projects going on in Sweden, and Victoria Caliber from Läsmuskler (“Reading muscles) in Ulricehamn explains how they work with several different sports. They have recently appointed a “stall for reading” at a riding school, they’ve got comfortable and cosy reading pouffes in the shape of footballs, they run a caravan filled with books to football games, and help sports clubs to select books and audio books.
– Our experience is that there is a great demand for books in the sports world, they are appreciated by the athletes but also by parents and siblings, says Victoria Kleiber.
Written by Cecilia Eriksson, Swedish Arts Council