World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) this week launched its annual WrestleMania Reading Challenge, which aims to foster literacy among adult wrestling fans.
The campaign urges grown-up participants to “Become a Reading Superstar” by turning off the TV once in a while and picking up a “book,” which is collection of printed words arranged in pages to convey a narrative.
WWE launched the campaign after a 2010 survey revealed that literacy rates among adult wrestling fans are among the lowest in the world, on par with those among nomadic desert tribes and certain populations of chimpanzees.
Most fans surveyed admitted they have difficulty reading anything longer than 160 characters, though a few boasted that they read Bleacher Report’s “Top 74 Abdominal Stretches in WCW” in its entirety.
During the WrestleMania Reading Challenge, participants over the age of 18 can choose a “WWE Superstar Reading Buddy” — a popular wrestler who will provide automated epithets of encouragement.
More than 300,000 ambitious adults signed up for the program during the first week, and all of them committed to reading at least one of Mick Foley’s nine autobiographies before WrestleMania.