Here at the Book Council we're determined that more New Zealanders read more. Reading other people’s stories gives us empathy; the skill of reading allows us to decipher what is real information from what is not; and reading is a key way to gain knowledge.
But some of us are less likely to read. New Zealand’s 2016 Social Report indicates that only 44% of young men aged 16-24 have at or above level 3 literacy (the level needed to function in day-to-day society). That means over half of Kiwi boys are on track to miss out on everything from employment prospects, to being able to read to their kids.
To help solve this problem, we asked a group of Year 7 and 8 boys from Auckland schools what it would take to get them reading. The boys told us reading needs to become part of their life and they need to see that reading can actually bring as much fun and pleasure as the things they love most – like gaming, sports, TV and movies.
Many movies are based on books. That seemed like the best link between the world of pre-teen boys and books.
With our boys, Duffy Books in Homes, Colenso and Bloomsbury (J K Rowling’s publisher), we have designed a book trailer for the upcoming Fantastic Beasts movie. The book trailer will play before the movie trailer in cinemas, be promoted like movie posters and in competitions to win advance screenings of Fantastic Beasts, and will be high profile online.
The book trailer entices the viewer to read the book to get the low-down on the movie and to get it before the movie is out. With two clicks, the online viewer will be taken to the start of the Fantastic Beasts book.
The success of this project so far has been co-design (listening and responding to the boys who are the target audience) and partnership (with each partner bringing unique skills and gifts to the project) and determination (that we will find ways of re-engaging boys with the pleasure of reading).