VIDEO: Read more to our children, urge showbiz stars

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Actors Hugh Grant, Rupert Everett and David Harewood were among celebrities who took part in a reading marathon this weekend - urging people to read more to their children, writes Graham Walker.

They took part in a Get Reading Festival, aimed to encourage young people to enjoy reading.

A large crowd of people listen to Nicholas Briggs read a Dr Who book on the stage of the Get Reading Festival. Photo: John Stillwell/PA Wire

A large crowd of people listen to Nicholas Briggs read a Dr Who book on the stage of the Get Reading Festival. Photo: John Stillwell/PA Wire

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Everett said: “I think we’re reading less and less and I think we have to find a way for us all to start reading more because otherwise we’re going to become more and more virtual.

“There’s something about the written word that is absolutely magical for the development of the human brain.

“If it is something that is literally phased out completely, we’re going to become blobs, if we aren’t already.”

British Actor Rupert Everett reads from a book by Oscar Wilde, on the stage at the Get Reading Festival. Photo: John Stillwell/PA Wire

British Actor Rupert Everett reads from a book by Oscar Wilde, on the stage at the Get Reading Festival. Photo: John Stillwell/PA Wire

At the festival Everett read from Oscar Wilde’s The Happy Prince, which he said was his favourite book as a child.

Hugh Grant recited a passage from CS Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, while Homeland actor David Harewood joked that he read “rather badly” from Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

“I just love Roald Dahl because I think he was such an incredibly imaginative writer,” Harewood said.

“I think it’s really great that we have these classic books that are sitting there. If kids can be encouraged to get into them, I think they’ll be surprised to find that a lot of them really do push the boundaries of humour.

“It can be quite dark as well, I think that is great for kids.”

The event, which saw hundreds of people gathered in London’s Trafalgar Square, coiuld be replicated in cities around the UK.

Pop star Peter Andre read to hundreds of children in a similar event at Sheffield’s Meadowhall shopping centre around 18-months ago.

Sheffield’s annual Off The Shelf reading and writing festival, staged every autumn, also includes many talks, workshops and readings aimed at encouraging children to read.

* What do you think? Do you encourage your children to read more and, if so, how? Leave a comment below, email letters@thestar.co.uk, follow us on Twitter and tweet your view @SheffieldStar, using #starcomment or like us and leave a message on our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/SheffieldStar.