Two very interesting stories related to make up a nice start to the week here at ALLi's News Column including a new finding for adult literacy.
The Independent Book Publishers’ Association is a body one feels an affinity for. Whilst as indie authors it can be frustrating to be lumped together with indie publishers or even forgotten about under that umbrella, there is a common purpose in setting one’s own path in a world of behemoths, and many of us become indie publishers with our own micro imprints.
The IBPA has just made history in electing as their chair for 2024-25 Tieshena Davis, who becomes the first black woman to hold the position. Davis is the CEO of Publish Your Gift. I very much look forward to seeing the direction the IBPA takes under her leadership, which starts on July 1st, and of course to reporting on it.
Second is a fascinating piece about reading and adult literacy in Germany.
I will confess that when I read the headline about a reading competition, my nose twitched with interest because I wondered if this might be a story about speed reading (several years ago I was in a documentary about speed reading that also featured the world-leading research of a German University on the subject, so it’s not that much of a stretch!).
It turned out the national reading competition is something far wider reaching, with an anticipated 500,000 participants arranged into chapters who compete at various levels leading to a national final. And the reading is reading aloud, it seems for 3 minutes from a book selected from a bank of recommendations. The competition, which has run for decades, is part of a drive to improve the country’s literacy. All of which makes it sound a little like a cross between a poetry slam and a spelling bee.
What’s really interesting is that accompanying research has been publicised which shows how reading aloud helps pointer-generational literacy within families. And the really fascinating part is that it subverts some people’s expectations. The research suggests that whereas the popular conception is that having adults read aloud gets children into books, actually it’s more the case that having children reading gets adults enthused about books. This shouldn’t be the surprise it seems to be. We know how big BookTok has become. And we also know that one of the ways in which publishing has stayed buoyant is that children still love reading in print.