The Library of Congress THE LOC.GOV WISE GUIDE
HOME That'll Be the Day... Trial in Iraq A Rare Black-and-White of A Colorful Figure Bringing in The May Let the Journey Begin 'It Could Have Caused The Greatest Chaos in America' The First Woman to Run for President . . . 50 Years Ago?
Let the Journey Begin

The Library of Congress, the Advertising Council and Buena Vista Home Entertainment have just launched a national public service advertising (PSA) campaign designed to encourage children and families to become engaged in reading and all other forms of literacy. Created pro bono by Disney, the new campaign features scenes and characters from the movie "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe."

Image from Aslan bookmark Frederick Douglass, (date unknown)

According to the National Institute for Literacy, success in school -- and life -- starts with literacy. When children become good readers in the early grades, they are more likely to become better learners throughout their school years and beyond. However, a U.S. Department of Education study found that from 1983 to 1999, more than 10 million Americans reached the 12th grade without having learned to read at a "basic" level, and research shows this trend begins much earlier in life. Results from the 2005 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) Reading Test found that 36 percent of American fourth-graders read below the "basic" level. In addition, the NAEP Reading Test revealed that while 45 percent of U.S. fourth-graders say they read for fun on a daily basis, only 19 percent of eighth-graders say they read for fun every day.

The new PSAs, which aim to reach children in the fourth, fifth and sixth grades and their parents, focus on engaging children and families in all forms of literacy, whether it is reading a book or magazine, studying history, visiting a museum or simply using their imagination.

As a result of Disney's pro bono collaboration on this campaign, the new television spots use feature scenes from the film "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" to show children and families that there are amazing possibilities when they open their minds to reading.

In conjunction with the campagin, the Library has developed a new page of links to the most fascinating places on its Web site and others related to literacy. You can read a letter from George Washington in his own hand on the importance of literature and the arts, or read about one of the most "Amazing Americans" -- Frederick Douglass, in the America's Library Web site for kids and families.

If you think poetry is hard to understand, go to Poetry 180 and change your view with this Web site that features a new easy-to-read poem for every day of the school year. You can also focus on literacy and reading in your community. For example, you can find a public library near you or find book festivals in your state. And don't forget to download a Narnia coloring book and bookmark.

Speaking of book festivals, the Library's 2006 National Book Festival will be held on Saturday, Sept. 30, on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., between 7th and 14th streets from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (rain or shine). The festival is free and open to the public. For a taste of what these celebrations of books and readings are all about, visit the National Book Festival Web site.

A. Image from Aslan bookmark, available for download at

B. Frederick Douglass, (date unknown). Prints and Photographs Division. Reproduction information: Reproduction No.: LC-USZ62-15887 (b&w film copy neg.); Call No.: BIOG FILE -- Douglass, Frederick [item] [P&P]