Rowling among first Literacy Heroes
Published 04/12/2013 | 16:21
Harry Potter author JK Rowling and Happy Days star Henry Winkler are among those who have been named as the nation's "Literacy Heroes".
Eight others, including schoolchildren, a librarian, teachers, a Romany gypsy storyteller and a prisoner have also earned the accolade.
The first winners of the National Literacy Trust's campaign to find Britain's top 10 Literacy Heroes were unveiled by the Duchess of Cornwall during a reception at Clarence House in London. Each was picked because of the impact they have had on a community's reading and writing skills, or because they have overcome literacy problems of their own.
Camilla, who is a patron of the National Literacy Trust, launched the campaign in early October after research suggested children were increasingly embarrassed to be seen reading.
Over a two-month period, members of the public nominated hundreds of individuals for the award. The winners were then chosen by a panel that included best-selling authors Joanna Trollope, Cressida Cowell and Dorothy Koomson, entrepreneur Levi Roots, actor, comedian and writer Miles Jupp, and columnist Lucy Mangan.
JK, who penned the bestselling Harry Potter series, was chosen for turning a generation of children into readers.
Henry, who played The Fonz in Happy Days, is dyslexic and has written a series of children's books about Hank Zipzer, a bright schoolboy with learning challenges.
National Literacy Trust director Jonathan Douglas said: "Literacy Heroes and reading role models have never been more important at a time when our research shows that children's reading performance is declining, children are reading less and are holding more negative attitudes towards reading. The National Literacy Trust is delighted to celebrate our 20th anniversary by honouring the UK's top 10 Literacy Heroes who have made inspiring and significant strides to improve their own literacy or create positive opportunities for others."