Thursday, June 01, 2006

Literacy: The Big Read

The National Endowment for the Art is has a new program called “The Big Read.” According to this article in the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder, the program encourages people around the country to read a single book. These readers might participate in book clubs and events, and the idea is to get everyone to form one literary community that's talking about one title.

This year, a literary center in Minneapolis chose Zora Neale Hurston's novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God, as it's Big Read. Hurston's niece, Lucy Ann Hurston, appeared at that literary center to promote her own book, Speak, So You Can Speak Again, The Life of Zora Neale Hurston (published by Doubleday).

So which is it? Is The Big Read a book promotion opportunity, or does it promote literacy? It sounds to me as though The Big Read is both of those things . . . and also, it provides an opportunity to build community and cultural awareness through books. It's a win/win for everybody.

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