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Under the skin
Fri 20 Feb 2004
The British Council this week launched its new reading manifesto and Literature, Language and Culture Teaching materials. John Agard (pictured) gave an inspiring performance of poems which focused on the delights of reading.
Alec Williams, who also spoke at the event, writes in the manifesto:

"People who read are active citizens. From the outset, it is a mark of one's part in society - joining a local library as a child, for example, is one of the first acts of citizenship we make. To be active and informed citizens, people need reading skills, and they retain these by being habitual readers.

"By building a generation who wants to read, and by sustaining that desire throughout adult life, we bring huge benefits to the people who are our future customers. And by playing a role in this, the British Council will in turn reap sustained and enduring relationships worldwide."

The document is inclusive of all forms of reading. It "embraces the both classic and contemporary... It recognizes the value of any media that enhances or encourages reading - audio books, videos, websites and other formats. It recognizes the role of performance in bringing words to people - from storytelling to slam poetry."

Not all the new teaching materials are publicly available, but anyone can access the enCompass website (, an online book club which features more than 2500 titles, including non-fiction, and a reader-in-residence.

Contact Information:
The British Council