From the Bookseller today:

Schools secretary Ed Balls will formally launch the National Year of Reading today (1st April). To aid the launch, the NYR will run a TV advert starring celebrities including Geri Halliwell, Lenny Henry, Bill Bailey, Jon Culshaw and Jo Brand (pictured). The advert, which will air for the first time on Tuesday evening, aims to “broaden the definition of reading beyond books and remind us that reading is an everyday part of all the things we really enjoy”.

Balls said: “The National Year of Reading is all about reading anything, anytime and any place – the new advertising campaign brings this sentiment to life perfectly and it’s exactly this message that we wanted to celebrate. The familiar faces supporting the Year help to show reading can be engaging in all its forms – from books to blogs, while you’re at home or even in a café.”

Campaigns and activities throughout the year will focus on reluctant readers, those with low confidence, and boys and fathers. Local reading coordinators in 149 local authorities across England will work with local education, library and leisure services, businesses and the media to deliver the NYR to local communities.

Honor Wilson-Fletcher, NYR’s project director, said: “It doesn’t matter if you want to be a pop star, a sporting hero, a comedian or an actor, everything starts with reading. If you can’t read nowadays, many, many opportunities are lost to you.”