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The Trades Union Congress (TUC) have called for the British working population to share their reading habits for this year's World Book Day.

The poll, which is featured on workSMART the TUC's working life website, asks the participant to detail their reading habits, covering issues such as how much they read and what sort of material they usually read. The poll also intends to uncover any barriers that exist and that prevent workers from reading more frequently or widely.

Quick Reads

The poll forms part of the Quick Reads initiative supported by the TUC. This initiative is intended to turn around the disturbing trend that has seen some 12 million people in the UK tend to read very sparingly. The issues behind this lack of reading habit are to be explored, whether it is a problem with reading or the problem that the individual feels that they do not have sufficient free time to take up a book and turn the pages.

A range of bestselling writers, including Ruth Rendell, Conn Iggulden, Maeve Binchy and Joanna Trollope, are all taking part in Quick Reads. Nine hard back books are on offer for the winner who answers each question on the poll before it closes at the end of February. Information will also be gathered on the number of book clubs and the range of books across Britain, and whether employees are spreading the word on their favourite tome to colleagues and bosses.

The hardback books in question will cost £2.99 each, and approximately five million £1 vouchers, redeemable for a year against any of the titles available, are being distributed to encourage people to read and enjoy a book. The vouchers will be distributed via further education colleges and adult learner centres, through the TUC and unions, employers, and are also downloadable from various different stakeholder websites.

The Authors

The participating authors have each composed a short and accessible piece of fiction targeting infrequent readers. The first twelve books are set to be released on World Book Day, which falls this year on the 2nd of March. Ten more will be released on Adult Learner's Week in May, the event closely supported by the National Institute for Adult Continuing Education (NIACE).

The TUC General Deputy Secretary Frances OGrady said: "There are all kinds of reasons why people dont read as much as they would like. For some people books remind them of the difficult time they may have had at school, others might feel nervous about going into a bookshop or library or may simply have such busy lives that they never find the time to read for leisure.

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"Quick Reads is a fantastic way of opening up books to people who struggle with reading and whove lost the reading habit," she continued. "The 12,000 strong network of union learning reps offer the perfect opportunity to promote Quick Reads and a renewed interest in reading to the UK workforce."

Jethro Marsh

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