Friday, September 7, 2012

Happy International Literacy Day

Happy International Literacy Day everyone.  I think that, of all the causes that I support, literacy is the dearest to me.  Not only because it's the backbone of my life - I grew up surrounded by books and they continue to broaden and add joy to my life and the life of my family and friends (that includes you!), but also because, as UNESCO very rightly puts it, "Literacy contributes to peace as it brings people closer to attaining individual freedoms and better understanding the world, as well as preventing or resolving conflict." In other words, literacy is the root of our global intellectual, mental, and moral health.  UNESCO has  recommended 5 things you can do to support literacy in your community:

1.  Donate books and reading materials to your local school or community centre
2. Start a reading club (if you've already got one - well done - maybe your club could do #3)
3. Volunteer to teach literacy classes in your community  
4. Become a mentor of a non-literate person
5. Send your literacy stories to joinliteracy(at)

In any case, as you cuddle up with your books this evening, remember that there are 504 million illiterate people in Asia and the Pacific alone.  Even in the US, the functional illiteracy rate is sitting around 20%!  Check out this infographic. 42 million adult Americans can't read at all.  If that isn't a call to action, I don't know what is. Why not share your own literacy stories in the comments below? Or talk about what literacy means to you. Let's share Literacy Day together.

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