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Thursday, 1 March, 2001, 11:36 GMT
Scots bookworms top poll
World Book Day
Thousands of events are taking place
The Scots are the UK's most avid readers, according to a poll commissioned to mark World Book Day.

Reading hours per week
Scots: 5.8
UK average: 4.6
Northerners: 3.9
They spend about 5.8 hours each week buried in a book for pleasure, compared with a national average of 4.6 hours.

But in the north of England, the figure drops to just 3.9 hours, and 19% of people claim not to read for pleasure at all.


Thousands of events are taking place across the UK on Thursday as part of the fourth annual World Book Day, which encourages people of all ages to pick up the reading habit.

A Brighton postman will hand out free books on his daily round, while Liverpool football players will be encouraging youngsters to read at their Anfield ground.

Jack McConnell, Scotland's Minister for Education, Europe and Cultural Affairs, said: "Our country has a tradition of notable writers and the survey proves we have also fostered a nation of avid readers.

"This is an optimistic sign for the future as reading is one of the easiest and most enjoyable ways of learning and opens doors of opportunity and knowledge for everyone."

Nigella Lawson
Nigella Lawson is among the celebrity backers
Over half of adults said they read to relax and relieve stress, with 40% citing self-improvement as a reason for reading.

Celebrity cooks Jamie Oliver and Nigella Lawson, boxer Audley Harrison, musician Suggs and actor Ioan Grufford are backing World Book Day, and are appearing in advertisements to encourage more adults to pick up a book.

Events begin in Brighton, where three local authors will join a postman to deliver books on his morning round.

Liverpool players will launch a series of study guides, backed by the club, at Anfield, and a bookshop in Letchworth, Hertfordshire, is holding a 24-hour sponsored Harry Potter readathon in aid of a local hospice.

In Cardiff, a special St David's Day poem to mark World Book Day will be recited by local schoolchildren on BBC Radio 3, while 180 schoolchildren from Angelsey will travel by ferry to Dublin to meet up with Irish authors and school groups.

World Book Day
Is life too busy for reading books?
See also:

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