Scoop has an Ethical Paywall
License needed for work use Register

World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


Make Like Dickens on International Literacy Day

Paris, France, and Darmstadt, Germany, 7 September 2009 For immediate release

Make Like Charles Dickens on International Literacy Day

The World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) is providing the world¹s newspapers with an eight-part serialized story for publication around International Literacy Day, 8 September, to help parents and teachers instil a love of reading in young people.

WAN-IFRA is encouraging newspapers to launch the series on or near 8 September to coincide with International Literacy Day, a United Nations initiative to promote universal literacy. WAN-IFRA is also providing cartoons celebrating reading that were donated by some of the world¹s leading cartoonists, including Jim Davis, creator of Garfield, for newspapers to print on that day.

The cartoons, the story and accompanying activities can be found at .

The idea of serialized stories in newspapers is not new; novels by Charles Dickens, Victor Hugo and Leo Tolstoy began this way. Serialized stories are finding an important new audience in the 21st century and are being used to encourage family reading.

The story being offered by WAN-IFRA has no literary pretentions. It is a tale for 9- to 12-year olds about a group of insects who must learn to cooperate to create a newspaper (The Fly on the Wall Journal) to spread the news in City Park.

But behind the story is a serious objective ¬ to help teachers and parents show children that reading and learning are fun. The companion lesson plan includes reading comprehension questions, writing exercises, science facts and exercises that teach children about newspaper journalism, and offer ways to learn about the local newspaper.

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading

Are you getting our free newsletter?

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.

Newspapers with a combined circulation of over four million have already made plans for the story. Among them: The Hindustan Times in India will arrange contests to encourage students to create their own school newspapers, and to submit paintings and artwork about insects. El Bravo in Mexico will award prizes to children who complete all the activities for all eight chapters. The Daily News of Effington, Illinois, in the United States, will print the first chapter as part of its literacy supplement that focuses on pre-school through adult literacy.

International Literacy Day was established in 1965 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and is celebrated around the world each year on September 8. One in five adults over the age of 15 world-wide is unable to read, according to UNESCO.

Newspapers world-wide are working to change this; in many countries where textbooks are in short supply or too expensive, the local paper serves as the reading primer.

³In many countries, teachers use newspapers to teach both children and adults how to read, and we constantly hear of new ways newspapers are working with, or even creating, libraries,² said Aralynn McMane, Director of Young Reader Development at WAN-IFRA. ³A serial story remains a great tool for all involved and is a fresh way to attract new partnerships.²

WAN-IFRA is offering the story free of charge, in English and Spanish, to newspapers that can begin publishing it before the end of the year. Newspapers are authorized to translate the story into any other language.

The author of the story, Cathy Sewell, the Newspapers in Education Manager for the St Louis Post-Dispatch, will talk about how to use serial stories as a circulation and loyalty builder at the World Young Reader Conference, to be held from 27 to 30 September in Prague, Czech Republic. Full programme and registration details can be found at

The serialized story initiative is part of WAN-IFRA¹s Newspapers in Education Development Project supported by Norske Skog, the Norway-based global paper producer. The story, activities and art were was donated by The Curriculum Closet. Additional photos and stories about real insects were provided by Paris-based Sardine Features and are available at

Cartoon donors include Jim Davis, creator of Garfield, French cartoonist Michel Cambon, and artists working with CartoonArts International, which represents political cartoonists from 75 countries.

WAN-IFRA, based in Paris, France, and Darmstadt, Germany, with subsidiaries in Singapore, India, Spain, France and Sweden, is the global organisation of the world¹s newspapers and news publishers. It represents more than 18,000 publications, 15,000 online sites and over 3,000 companies in more than 120 countries. The organisation was created by the merger of the World Association of Newspapers and IFRA, the research and service organisation for the news publishing industry.

Inquiries to: Larry Kilman, Director of Communications and Public Affairs, WAN-IFRA, 7 rue Geoffroy St Hilaire, 75005 Paris France. Tel: +33 1 47 42 85 00. Fax: +33 1 47 42 49 48. Mobile: +33 6 10 28 97 36. E-mail:


© Scoop Media

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading
World Headlines

UN News: Aid Access Is Key Priority

Among the key issues facing diplomats is securing the release of a reported 199 Israeli hostages, seized during the Hamas raid. “History is watching,” says Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths. “This war was started by taking those hostages. Of course, there's a history between Palestinian people and the Israeli people, and I'm not denying any of that. But that act alone lit a fire, which can only be put out with the release of those hostages.” More

Save The Children: Four Earthquakes In a Week Leave Thousands Homeless

Families in western Afghanistan are reeling after a fourth earthquake hit Herat Province, crumbling buildings and forcing people to flee once again, with thousands now living in tents exposed to fierce winds and dust storms. The latest 6.3 magnitude earthquake hit 30 km outside of Herat on Sunday, shattering communities still reeling from strong and shallow aftershocks. More

UN News: Nowhere To Go In Gaza

UN Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric said some 1.1M people would be expected to leave northern Gaza and that such a movement would be “impossible” without devastating humanitarian consequences and appeals for the order to be rescinded. The WHO joined the call for Israel to rescind the relocation order, which amounted to a “death sentence” for many. More

Access Now: Telecom Blackout In Gaza An Attack On Human Rights

By October 10, reports indicated that fixed-line internet, mobile data, SMS, telephone, and TV networks are all seriously compromised. With significant and increasing damage to the electrical grid, orders by the Israeli Ministry of Energy to stop supplying electricity and the last remaining power station now out of fuel, many are no longer able to charge devices that are essential to communicate and access information. More


Join Our Free Newsletter

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.