Spreading the Joy of Reading -- Get Caught Reading Month

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May is Get Caught Reading month, and the Association of American Publishers (AAP) and the Magazine Publishers of America (MPA) have planned a major publicity blitz to remind people of all ages how much fun it is to read. Public service advertisements running in MPA member publications representing millions of reader impressions, and reading events and celebrity posters displayed in schools, libraries, and bookstores throughout the country will all impart the message that "reading is one of life's true joys."

ABA member booksellers participating in the Book Sense program will be receiving a an 8.5" x 11" Get Caught Reading poster in their May white box mailing. "Booksellers can have a lot of fun with the new images of celebrities 'Caught Reading,'" said ABA Marketing Director Jill Perlstein. "Although Get Caught Reading has traditionally been celebrated in May, we encourage booksellers to try to "catch" local celebrities reading anytime of the year. We'd love to see bookstores build an annual literacy campaign around this concept. Decorating a store with positive images of people enjoying books and posting photos of store events is one way, or creating a contest around the Get Caught Reading theme is another. Either way, reminding the public, especially reluctant readers, that all sorts of famous people (even cartoon characters) like to read can't hurt, and it may even sell a few more books."

Booksellers can view and request copies of print ads and poster to support their efforts at AAP's Web site www.getcaughtreading.org/. Materials can also be requested by sending an e-mail to AAP Vice President Kathryn Blough at kblough@publishers.org. Ads and posters feature First Lady Laura Bush, Drew Carey, Clifford the Big Red Dog, Donald Duck, Patty Duke, Whoopi Goldberg, Billy Graham, Derek Jeter, Vernon Jordan, Jake Lloyd, Rosie O'Donnell, Dolly Parton, The Rugrats, Jane Seymour, Sammy Sosa, Spider Man, Erik Weihenmayer, Robin Williams, and 200 members of Congress. New celebrities this year include Spider Man, NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon, and Mary-Kate & Ashley Olson.

In addition, this year, the Get Caught Reading campaign will have a Latino theme in recognition of AAP's declaration that 2003 is the Year of Publishing Latino Voices for America. AAP has created a new Spanish-language logo and slogan, ¡Aja, leyendo!. Jorge Ramos and Dora the Explorer have posed for photographs with Spanish-language captions, and all of the images are available with the logo in English or Spanish.

Launched in 1999, "Get Caught Reading" is the brainchild of former Congresswoman Pat Schroeder, president and chief executive officer of AAP, who saw the opportunity to spread the word about the joys of reading through an industry-supported literacy campaign. MPA partnered with AAP in 2001. -- Rosemary Hawkins