Wednesday, September 16, 1998 Published at 07:30 GMT 08:30 UK
Year of Reading starts on TV
The government is placing a greater emphasis on literacy
From soap opera to cyberspace, the government is promoting the message that reading is good for you.
The Education Secretary, David Blunkett, is to start the Year of Reading on Wednesday on the set of EastEnders - one of the soap operas that has agreed to introduce plots supporting the literacy campaign.
Mr Blunkett said he was hoping to change the culture of learning and encourage children - and boys in particular - to read.
The National Year of Reading, which will run throughout the current school year, will see a rolling programme of events to promote the written word.
Organisations including book publishers, libraries, the media and local authorities will all work to encourage increased reading among children and adults.
Reading in Scotland
In Scotland, Education Minister Helen Liddell will visit a literacy project at Stirling High School which involves local footballers, in an attempt to encourage an interest in books among boys.
A compulsory 'literacy hour' has been introduced for primary schools from this term, accompanied by an extra £19m worth of books. Earlier this year an additional £22m was allocated for books in primary and secondary schools.
Reading for pleasure
But ministers say teachers alone cannot raise children's literacy standards to the necessary levels, hence the need for a national campaign to promote reading that involves parents and the wider community.
Among the aims of the National Year of Reading are to encourage more parents to introduce children to books at an early age, more children and young people to read regularly and families to read together.
The literacy campaign also wants more people to read for pleasure and for people to talk about what they read.