COMEDY legend Ken Dodd is backing the ECHO’s campaign to make Liverpool the nation’s foremost reading city.
The Squire of Knotty Ash, who has spent his life amassing a collection of books about comedy and stage, said reading has always been a vital part of his life. He believes all children should be given the chance to learn to read because it is “one of the greatest joys of life”.
Doddy said: “Reading is probably the most wonderful gift any human being can possibly have. “It’s like having your own theatre or cinema in your mind – all these stories, plays, adventures all take part in your mind, your own personal playground.
“The more you read, the more adventures you have and the more people you meet through stories.
“You can visualise all these great adventures – climbing mountains, going through the jungle, discovering new lands.”
The ECHO is asking you to help turn Liverpool into a City of Readers by pledging to read for at least an extra five minutes each day – adding up to a grand total of 5 million minutes in a year.
You can read whatever you choose – a favourite novel, a new best-seller, a history book, a celebrity biography or anything else that you just happen to feel like opening that day – either to yourself, to a loved one or with a group of friends. Sign up below.
By making reading visible across the city it will help encourage children to open a book and support the one in five pupils capable of learning to read who are currently leaving Liverpool primary schools without meeting national targets.
Doddy, whose favourite book is The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame, has enjoyed reading since the age of four. As a boy he would enjoy boys adventure books and comics including Wizard, The Hotspur and The Rover.
When he first turned professional, he would visit libraries in every town he performed to learn more about comedy.
Doddy said: “Discovering a book is like making a new friend.
“The first book I was ever really enthralled by was Wind in the Willows.“For a grown man it’s probably a bit whimsical, but it’s a beautifully written book and it all comes to life on the pages.”
2014 is Liverpool’s Year of Reading, run by the Liverpool Learning Partnership and The Reader Organisation.