Margaret Atwood shares original poem to encourage kids to engage in summer reading

The poem is part of the Canadian Children’s Literary Foundation’s Read On Canada! initiative, which encourages children to read and provides access to books through food banks.

Margaret Atwood has lent her voice to the Canadian Children's Literacy Foundation's Read On Canada! initiative.

The children's rhyme hopes to inspire young readers to pick up a book during the break from school and avoid the "summer slide" — a drop in reading level that often happens to children who don't have many opportunities to read over the summer months. 

Atwood joins other notable Canadians who have been part of the push to keep school-aged children reading during the summer, including author David A. Robertson, astronaut and author Chris Hadfield and author illustrator Debbie Ridpath Ohi. 

Ariel Siller, CEO of the Canadian Children's Literacy Foundation says that having the support of writers of Atwood's stature goes a long way in encouraging children's love of reading. 

"We are thrilled by the interest and impact of Read On Canada! across the country, and in particular we are delighted that Margaret Atwood contributed original poetry to this initiative," she told CBC Books via email.

"Atwood's poetry is such a gift for all of us now and also for future generations."

Siller also stressed the importance of fostering a lifelong love of reading in young people. 

"Reading with children — right from birth — and encouraging them to 'read on' helps them reach their full potential in school and in life," she said.

Through Read On Canada! families who access food bank services will receive a book with their food hampers. The program is looking to distribute 130,000 books to kids over the summer and also provides fun activities they can do on their website

Read On Canada! is a partnership between the CCLF, Food Banks Canada and publishers, universities and other organizations from across the country that promote reading. 

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