mexican girl reading Not a common sight.

Program seeks funds to encourage reading

Open Book campaign to put books into the hands of children

A new reading promotion campaign is seeking to bring qualified trainers and library collections to children throughout Mexico.

The result of collaboration between book retailer Libros Gandhi and the Mexican chapter of the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY), the program “Open Book: Transforming Education Together” consists of a fundraising campaign whose goal is to improve the quality of children’s lives through reading.

Starting next Monday, readers at all Libros Gandhi stores will be invited to make a donation, which the company will match.

In a first stage, the program will reach out to children in at least 13 foster homes with the help of 26 qualified trainers who will  take library collections with them.

IBBY Mexico is a non-profit organization that represents an international network of people who are committed to bringing books and children together. Their job will be preparing the collections from its 250 titles, especially selected for readers between four and 12 years old.

“Over the years we’ve done our own campaigns, making donations to several schools and, at times, prisons . . . . Now we’ve finally been able to create our own comprehensive social program,” said Alberto Achar, marketing manager at Gandhi.

“The children will now have books available within easy reach, ready to satisfy their curiosity and desire for reading.”

On average, Mexicans read about three books a year, the effects of which are reflected in the Educational Progress Index: primary school students achieve an average of 7.5 out of 10 points, while those in secondary school average 6.7. Scores at the post-secondary level are slightly worse at 6.6 points.

Forty per cent of the Mexican population has never set foot inside a bookstore, and 41% occupy their free time watching television; only 12% read.

Source: Milenio (sp), Notimex (sp)

Reader forum