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Kate Winslet "Learned to Read" for Role

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Feb. 3 2009, Published 5:07 a.m. ET

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For some actors, it's enough to just show up on set on time. But for others, like Golden Globe and SAG award-winner Kate Winslet, perfecting a character takes time and dedication, and in the case of The Reader, it means learning to read.

While the Oscar-nominated Brit already knows her ABCs, Hanna Schmitz, her character in The Reader, is an illiterate adult. In order to better understand those who feel handicapped by illiteracy, Kate spent time with adults learning to read.

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"Understanding the mind of an illiterate person – that was crucial to me," Kate said in a recent interview. "So I spent a lot of time with a group in New York City, the Literacy Partners, and they teach men and women to read and write, and that was really the most helpful stuff I could possibly have done because I had to understand the level of shame. I had to understand how you live with that lie, how it affects every single area of your life."

"Authenticating a role like Hanna Schmitz requires dedication and purposeful intent," says Susan McLean, director of Literacy Partners, who conulsted on the film. "Kate Winslet portrays real-life struggles and the intimate personal shame of living life as an illiterate adult.  Her dedication alone merits an Oscar."

Now that's what we call commitment!

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