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.