The hugely successful Finnish literacy initiative, Read Hour, is coming to the UK for the first time in 2021, thanks to Finland’s most successful literary export, the Moomins.
Celebrated on UN International Literacy Day, Read Hour was created by the Children and Youth Foundation with a mission to encourage people to spend just one hour of their day on 8th September reading, whether that be a book, magazine or comic book – everything is encouraged.
Moomin Characters Ltd was inspired to help launch Read Hour internationally after seeing its success in Finland first-hand. In the three years since its launch, Read Hour has attracted huge amounts of support, growing year on year. Sauli Niinistö, President of Finland, has been the patron since Read Hour began and thousands of Finns shared their Read Hour participation on social media every year.
In the UK, organisations who have pledged to support Read Hour so far include Waterstones, Macmillan Children’s Books, Sort Of Books, Oxfam, World Book Day, BookTrust, Love Reading and many more.
There will be special Read Hour events taking place at Waterstones stores in London and Glasgow on 8th September at 4pm. The Glasgow event at the Sauchiehall Street store will see Moomin storyteller Liz Fost entertain and delight audiences with interactive storytelling and crafts. In London’s Kingston store attendees will have the opportunity to meet and have a photo with Moomintroll and hear tales of Moominvalley from children’s author Philip Ardagh, the author of The World of Moominvalley.
Roleff Kråkström, Managing Director of Moomin Characters, said: “We have made a long term commitment to helping spark a love of reading and writing in young people around the globe, and are delighted to be bringing Read Hour to the UK as part of that mission. We believe that being able to read and write opens up a world of possibilities for young people, allowing them to communicate their hopes and dreams, relate to others, engage with the big issues of our times, and create positive change.”
Jennifer Saunders, Cressida Cowell, Laura Dockrill and Philip Ardagh are among the celebrities and authors who will be supporting Read Hour on social media. Anyone taking part is encouraged to share a photo of themselves or the book they are reading on social media using the hashtag #ReadHourUK.
The official Read Hour will be held at 2pm-3pm, but anyone unable to take part then is encouraged to hold their own Read Hour at any time that suits them on 8th September. Reading alone and reading together with a family member, friend, classmates or colleagues are equally encouraged.
A range of Read Hour resources are available here for bookshops, schools, and libraries who would like to take part in the initiative. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.