Stop What You’re Doing and Read: The Australian Reading Hour Is Here

Jen Sherman

Staff Writer

Jen is an urban and cultural geographer who did a PhD on public libraries and reading. As a researcher, her interests are focused on libraries, reading, book retailing and the book industry more broadly. As a reader, she reads a lot of crime fiction, non-fiction, and chicklit. And board books. All the board books. You can also find her writing about books for children and babies at Instagram: shittyhousewife / babylibrarians Twitter: @jennnigan

It’s September, and the Australian Reading Hour is upon us! The event is simple: on the 14th of September, spend an hour reading. That’s it. Stop what you’re doing for an hour and read.

This is an event sponsored by a range of reading and cultural organisations in Australia, such as the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA), the Australian Booksellers Association, the Australian Publishers Association, the Australian Society of Authors, and state libraries from around the country.

The goal is to rediscover (or discover) the joy and benefits of reading. In children, reading can help with literacy, language skills (both written and oral), empathy, and identity formation. For adults, reading can reduce stress, improve communication skills, and be a great way to escape and relax.

There are resources for librarians, booksellers, and teachers who want to participate in the Australian Reading Hour, and libraries and bookshops across the country will be holding reading events and author events.

This year, there’s a social media hashtag: #brbReading. There are also some cool images for use on social media with fun facts about reading and readers, like when tested for empathy, readers of narrative fiction scored higher than people from other groups, and the more people read for leisure, the more literate they become and this has benefits for society overall.

I doubt that many of these facts about reading and readers are new to the Book Riot audience, and there isn’t much arm-twisting needed to convince you to read for an hour, but I think this could still be a nice reminder: if you’ve been extra busy, or over-worked, or stressed, and haven’t been able to read as much as you’d like in recent times, perhaps you could carve out an hour somewhere on the 14th of September. Read for leisure. Read for pleasure. Read because reading is awesome.