The Gift of Reading(R) - 10 years later... Thousands of children still don't have stories read to them

    MONTREAL, Oct. 22 /CNW Telbec/ - The Literacy Foundation is proud to
launch the 10th edition of The Gift of Reading(R). Since its inception, the
project has grown extraordinarily, allowing the Foundation to give more than
165,000 brand new books to the same number of underprivileged children (aged
0-12) with a view to keeping children in school and preventing illiteracy.
Nevertheless, 10 years down the line, the Foundation still receives thousands
of requests each year for new books for children from the poorest
neighbourhoods in every Quebec region.
    It is this fact that prompts the Foundation to raise public awareness
further as to the fact that books and reading stories do not hold a special
place in most families targeted by the project. It is recognized that early
contact with the written word is the prime factor in academic success and
perseverance in reading. So the family's involvement in this stage is crucial
in the child's lifelong relationship with books. Remember, in Quebec, 228,740
children aged 17 and under live in low-income families.

    A little imagination into the everyday

    To underscore the 10th anniversary of The Gift of Reading(R), the
bleublancrouge agency designed a new advertising and promotional campaign
without charge, taking its inspiration from children's stories and the
imaginary worlds they create. A TV, radio and print campaign will be run in
the media, in November and December, inviting the general public to put a
little imagination into the everyday lives of poor children by buying them
their first brand new book.
    The 10th edition of The Gift of Reading(R) will also be marked by special
projects designed both to raise the project's profile and to increase public
awareness as to the importance of reading together as a family.

    Calendar 2009 - 10th anniversary of The Gift of Reading(R) (in French

    Under the watchful eye of photographer Martine Doucet (Portrait de
famille), 12 performers' families were captured candid camera-style while
enjoying their favourite reading activities. The outcome is a calendar
featuring uplifting photographs along with reading tips and tricks for the
entire family! This calendar is being sold for $15 in participating
bookstores, at L'Aubainerie, in OSI optometry clinics, L'Essence du Papier
stores, the Grande Bibliothèque store and the Musée de la civilisation store,
and on the Foundation's Web site.

    Story reading at Montreal's Salon du livre

    From November 19 to 24, 2008, visitors to Montreal's book fair are
invited to have a story read to them by one of the many well-known performers
attending the Gift of Reading(R) booth, in a fun environment reminiscent of
time spent reading at home. The Foundation also wants to remind the general
public of the importance of reading together as a family and to invite them to
make The Gift of Reading(R) so as to share this enjoyable activity with more
needy families.

    Where to participate

    Marie Turgeon, actress and project spokesperson, reiterates her
invitation to take part in The Gift of Reading(R) in November and December at
one of the 160 participating bookstores in Quebec. This year, it is also
possible to buy a book online at Interested individuals,
organizations and companies can organize a book collection or fundraiser
throughout the year, too. Eight book fairs are hosting the project, as well.
Books collected in a given region will be distributed to children in that
region in May 2009.

    Buy a book and help the Foundation at the same time!

    When you buy one of the following books, $1 will be given to The Gift of

    - Funny Stories, Dominique and Friends
    - Caillou - In My House, Chouette

    "For this extra special edition," says Marie Turgeon, "we would like to
celebrate by collecting more than 30,000 brand new children's books. I feel
like dreaming of the future ... and helping our future to dream. When you
give, you receive so much! I'm giving a book... How about you?"

    The Gift of Reading(R)

    The Gift of Reading(R) is a project through which brand new books are
given to children from underprivileged backgrounds. It also aims to reach
parents with weak reading skills, who are likely to encounter reading
difficulties and can be helped by the Foundation through the Info-Alpha phone
line: 1-800-361-9142.

For further information:

For further information: Sandra Chabannel, Public Relations Officer and
Webmaster, (514) 289-1178, ext. 224,;
Source: Prevention Department, Literacy Foundation,

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Literacy Foundation

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