Top names join campaign to give the gift of reading this Christmas

A string of top literary names are backing a campaign urging parents spend family time reading this holiday season

A host of well-known Irish personalities have come together to encourage parents to celebrate the magic of reading with their children this Christmas.

The “Story for Their Stocking” campaign is urging parents to take the time to read, share stories and instil a love of books into children around the country.

Newstalk broadcasters Seán Moncrieff, Sarah McInerny and Dr Ciara Kelly are joining a string of literary legends in lending their support to the project.

The list of personalities backing the campaign includes internationally renowned authors Roddy Doyle and Eoin Colfer as well as actor Rory Cowan (Mrs. Brown’s Boys) and playwright Stefanie Preissner.

Each personality will be revealing their favourite childhood book each day from today as part of the special ‘12 Days of Christmas’ video campaign on the Arts Council’s Twitter and Facebook feeds.

Speaking at the launch of the campaign, the Director of the Arts Council Orlaith McBride said young children who are introduced to books at an early age, “do better in school, have higher levels of achievement in reading and maths, are happier, more self-confident as learners and have fewer socio emotional difficulties.”

“The evidence is overwhelming, reading is good for children,” she said.

Image: Research by the Arts Council and the ESRI shows the huge benefits to children when they are encouraged to read by their parents or when their parents read to them.

“We are hoping this campaign will encourage parents and families to focus on the magic of storytelling this Christmas," she said.

“We hope they will take some precious time to enjoy a good book together. Buy it, borrow it or dig it out from the bottom of a box in the attic. Just take up a book this Christmas and watch your child’s imagination take flight.”

You can watch the first video from the campaign below: