News Corp Australia is continuing its push to get children to read more with its latest book-themed campaign which teams the publishing company with online learning provider, LiteracyPlanet.
The month-long campaign, to be led by all metropolitan mastheads, will reveal that Australia’s reading and writing levels are falling behind global standards and encourage parents and caregivers to take the time to read to their children.
News Corp Australia managing director for metro and regional publishing, Damian Eales, told Mumbrella: “If you talk to one of our editors, one of the issues that resonates right through our publications is this issue of the decline of literacy standards in Australia.
“It’s an issue that impacts children but it also impacts the overall community as adult literacy is also an issue.
“With children now going back to school, it’s a great opportunity for all of our local communities associated with each of our mastheads to start a movement which we call Raise a Reader where we encourage parents and caregivers to start a new year’s resolution to spend more time with their children helping and encouraging them to read.”
Eales: wants to put 3m books into the hands of Aussie kids
The campaign is being promoted with a TV campaign which sees a young girl reading The Cat in the Hat to her brother.
To launch the Raise a Reader campaign, News Corp’s mastheads, including the Daily Telegraph, the Herald Sun and The Courier-Mail, will donate a combined total of 10,000 books to early literacy initiative Let’s Read, which is a partnership between Murdoch Children’s Research Institute and the The Smith Family.
“Our objective is to put more books into the hands of more children,” Eales said.
“With this campaign we hope we can put three million books into the hands of Aussie kids ,and if we can help them create a habit by exposing the importance of reading to children and the implications of not having good literacy we think we can make a real difference.”
The campaign will be supported by News Corp’s annual book promotion which this year sees audiences able to collect a Dr. Seuss collection.
“There’s some national components to that where we work together collectively but it’s also about unearthing the local stories that expose the opportunity in terms of helping kids read,” explained Eales.
“This is an important agenda item that’s on the mind of our editors on a day-to-day basis anyway but if we combine all of that activity into this one focal point we think we can get the community, government and businesses to stop and think about this issue we’re facing as a broader community.”
A national competition, which kicks off on February 13, in partnership with LiteracyPlanet, will see readers invited to challenge their word-building skills by completing a Word Mania game for a chance to win daily prizes and up to $10,000 cash.
LiteracyPlanet is also donating 500 eLearning annual subscription programs to be distributed by The Smith Family to children and their families/carers.
Incumbent Australian Children’s Laureate and 2015 Senior Australian of the Year, Jackie French, will be a Raise a Reader ambassador.
This is the third time News Corp has done a book promotion, starting with the Mr and Little Miss books promotion in February 2014 which was followed up with a Disney book promotion last year. However, this is the first time News Corp has branded it as the Raise a Reader campaign.
“It’s the first time we started to create a campaign called Raise a Reader, we wanted to give it it’s own brand and identity so we can build a movement associated with this in coming years,” said Eales.
“This is the third iteration but the campaign builds every time. For us, we want to get the books, and quite frankly, our newspapers into the hands of more people. But at the same time this is trying to build a habit when kids are going back to school.”
Eales admitted the book promotions do increase circulation.
“They absolutely increase circulation and unashamedly so; it’s all about giving value to our readers. We do see a significant lift in our retail sale during this period of time” he said.
“The flow-on impact is that we encourage family, children and parents to read their local newspaper as well. That gives kids an introduction to what’s happening in their local community and environment.”
Participating newspapers include:
- The Daily and Sunday Telegraph
- Herald Sun and Sunday Herald Sun
- The Courier-Mail and The Sunday Mail
- The Advertiser and Sunday Mail
- Mercury and Sunday Tasmanian
- NT News and Sunday Territorian
- The Sunday Times (WA)
- Gold Coast Bulletin
- Townsville Bulletin
- The Cairns Post
- Geelong Advertiser